Talk:Thomas Jefferson

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Former good article Thomas Jefferson was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Pike expedition[edit]

I believe the article needs to discuss the Pike Expedition. Jefferson's vision was an American Empire to the Pacific Ocean. I propose renaming the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" section to the "Western expeditions and explorations" section and adding information on the Pike Expedition. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:35, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. It is significant that Jefferson sponsors probing/exploration both northwest into British claimed territory and southwest into Spanish claimed territory. It adds dimension to Jefferson's phrase "Empire of Liberty" which is sometimes dismissed as merely a rhetorical flourish. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:03, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I think that Jefferson wanted and American Empire. Whether this included slavery, in my opinion, is a matter of debate. Cmguy777 (talk) 15:43, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
I think that there are at least three elements in Jefferson's thought regarding slavery, and each should be treated separately. It is a mistake to analytically conflate territorial expansion for the sake of U.S. continental security and agricultural prosperity with the theory that lessening concentrations of slaves would bring about more free blacks by the natural progression of manumission by wills, etc.
  • Before the advent of the cotton gin, when private manumissions and state emancipation of Revolutionary veterans were on the rise --- containing slavery seemed a way to bring about the inevitable end of slavery in the U.S.
  • In Virginia' internal debates, counties with large proportions of slave population had whites reluctant to (a) tolerate free black communities in their midst, (b) entertain policies allowing private manumission, or (c) consider plans of state gradual emancipation, whereas counties with small proportions of slave population were willing to do all three --- diluting slave population concentrations seemed to promote the end of slavery in the U.S. This is a consideration independent of a United States spanning the continent.
  • In states with large slave populations, fear of race war following any general emancipation was fueled by reports from French Haitian emigres settling in Charleston, SC describing the change from L'Ouverture's revolutionary ideal of a multi-racial society to Dessalines slaughter to make a non-white society --- emancipation of surplus slave population held on plantations of exhausted soils a) for the sake of individual freedom and b) for resettlement opportunity in a Caribbean or African colony, free from racist restrictions --- seemed a way to voluntarily end of slavery in the U.S. with compensation to the owners. --- This, rather than the historical options of continued black population export as slaves into new Territories or provinces still practicing slavery, such as Cuba where sugar plantations were administered as virtual death camps.
I regret it is difficult here to explicate all three in a balanced way across the course of Jefferson's career, but his goal was always to morally oppose or politically mitigate, slavery and slave holding, regardless of which theory of action he was embracing at the time as attainable. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 17:45, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

I would say the extreme reluctance of white persons in both the North and South to have blacks share citizenship with whites was the primary reason for the continuation of slavery. We have to go by history. The diffusion of slavery failed, polititians refuse to compromise, and then you get the Civil War. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:05, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Sounds about right to me. The diffusion out of the border states let to reconcentrations in the Deep South, the "Southwest territories" of Jefferson's time, due to cotton gin's success, --- which led to defense of slavery, a peculiarly immoral and unjust labor system, as Jefferson acknowledged. During Jefferson's time, the "defense" was innovation in American thought to justify slavery in the midst of a democratic republic for the first time. Then at civil war came "defense" of slavery by force of arms to overthrow the Union in rebellion against the democratically elected president to advance slavery into the territories. ---
Or at least that is what rebels said they were doing when they were doing it, now confused by the Lost Cause tradition, which is what they said they had done following their defeat with loss of 25% of the South's men and 60% of its prewar wealth. Lincoln's proposals for compensated emancipation was attained in the District of Columbia, but in the states, even in Delaware with the smallest slave population, they were unacceptable until accomplished nationally at once with the Thirteenth Amendment. And then, sent to the states just before his assassination, it passed in part to free slaves, in part in memoriam to Lincoln, in part to punish the rebels who had cost the country 600,000 dead. While some whites sought "to have blacks share citizenship with whites", that alone is not how the majorities were attained for Thirteenth (Lincoln administration), Fourteenth (over Johnson objection), and Fifteenth (Grant administration) Amendments. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:25, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
I would say the diffusion of slavery alleviated the vestiges of slavery in Virginia. Lincoln created West Virginia (December 1861), where Lincoln had the state legislature put gradual emancipation of slaves in the West Virginia constitution in order to be admitted to the Union. West Virginia succeeded from Virginia on April 17, 1861. That is not to say there were West Virginians who supported the Confederacy. However, diffusion, failed over the long run. Robert E. Lee defended Grant while he was President of Washington College. Winfield Scott and George Henry Thomas, both from Virginia, were Union Generals during the Civil War. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:33, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the Civil War was a war of brothers, not only famously in Tennessee, but in Virginia and others as well, the Lost Cause tradition idealizes a unified South which never was, even in the Confederacy. --- Interesting, I had not strung four elements of Lincoln's policy together before, Lincoln's policy in DC was immediate compensated emancipation, an element of Jefferson's thinking, in WV it was gradual emancipation, an element of Jefferson's thinking, and after securing a recommendation for immediate emancipation through the Thirteenth Amendment sent out to the states, a national solution not contemplated by Jefferson, Lincoln proposed black veterans and educated blacks receive the vote in Louisiana as a part of presidential reconstruction. On hearing that Booth assassinated him. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:05, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
@TheVirginiaHistorian, Cmguy777: -- Some content regarding the Pike and other expeditions is welcomed, however, we should keep section focus on Lewis and Clark. i.e.The Pike Expedition article doesn't even mention Jefferson. I renamed the section accordingly. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:05, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers, Cmguy777: That is a shortcoming of the Pike Expedition article. Perhaps because it does not fit into the narrative as Jefferson the anti-nationalist for the Lost Cause advocates. Nevertheless, additional information is to be had by reading the online sources referenced at the Pike Expedition article and their links.
"By 1800 Jefferson had developed a deep-seated anxiety over the many threats, both foreign and domestic, to the spirit of liberty and the ideals of republicanism he treasured. To provide for the future security and success of the American experiment he looked evermore intently to the latent potential of the West.” at Envisioning the west.
During the time of Burr’s filibuster plans put in motion, Jefferson's Pike Expedition is launched under the auspices of Spanish double agent General Wilkerson, whom Jefferson made Governor of the Louisiana Territory. The Spanish “suspected rightly…that the expedition would also attempt to turn the Indian tribes they encountered against the Spanish and make them friendly toward the United States for both military and trading purposes.” Trailing Lewis and Clark, by John Buescher at
The Spanish somehow found and arrested Pike as a spy, with or without their double-agent Wilkerson's help. This chapter in Jefferson’s career should not be overshadowed by the Burr affair, nor totally eclipsed by the relative success of Lewis and Clark Expedition, it is a part of the same continental vision Jefferson had to extend the U.S. by latitudes through existing English and Spanish-claimed territory to the Pacific. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:33, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

@Gwillhickers: The new research emphasizes that Jefferson had four expeditions sent out. The Lewis and Clark expedition was the most ambitious. I support the renaming of the section to "Lewis and Clark and other expeditions". Jefferson wanted access to the Pacific Ocean to find trade with China and the Far East. Additionally Jefferson wanted to push the British and Spanish out of the American continent. He was able by treaty and purchase to stop French control of the Louisiana Territory. Cmguy777 (talk) 15:11, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

@TheVirginiaHistorian: Jefferson is suppose to be anti-federalist, but these federal expeditions seem to imply that Jefferson supported federal funding and control of Western expeditions. Cmguy777 (talk) 15:21, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@TheVirginiaHistorian, Cmguy777: -- All very interesting. It almost seems you want to cover this topic as much as L&C, which I'm guessing you don't, but let's be careful about how the Pike and any other expeditions are covered in the section. A short summary paragraph appended, as Cm' did, to the end of the L&C section seems appropriate. We could mention some key points about the Pike (and perhaps other) expeditions, but I would recommend we incorporate these into the section inasmuch as they fit in with coverage of Jefferson's overall aspirations about exploring the west, which seems to be expounded upon well enough with coverage of Lewis and Clark. Yes, I was a little surprised that the Pike article didn't even mention Jefferson but still in all, when it comes to expeditions, it's Lewis and Clark that Jefferson is noted for, almost as much as the DOI and his presidency. Also, what has the "new research" uncovered about the Pike expedition that the 100's of other historians somehow 'didn't get'? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 15:27, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: I am not demphasizing the importance of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The "new research" is on the Dunbar and Hunter expedition. My source: Trey Berry, Pam Beasley, and Jeanne Clements (editors) (2006), The Forgotten Expedition, 1804-1805: The Louisiana Purchase Journals of Dunbar and Hunter, Editors Introduction page xi ... The new research emphasizes that there were four expeditions sent out by Jefferson not just the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Dunbar Hunter expedition had been rediscovered by historians i.e. "The Forgotten Expedition". As stated before the Lewis and Clark expedition was the most ambitious of the four expeditions sent out by Jefferson. I approve your title change to the section. I also mentioned Jefferson in the Pike Expedition article and supplied a reference. Cmguy777 (talk) 15:55, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: All well and good, and what you've mentioned here can also be mentioned (+ -) at the end of the section, but again, these expeditions came after the L&C'exp and were only a continuation of the sort of things that began, spearheaded, by L&C ala Jefferson, who personally hand picked and tutored Lewis, giving him fill access to his library, etc. Seems the Pike exp is due a few sentences of coverage. Btw, thanks for your edits on the Pike page. Can't believe they didn't mention Jefferson. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:13, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: In my opinion the other expeditions positively add to Jefferson's legacy. Jefferson envisioned the U.S. from coast to coast, possibly the first President to do so. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:18, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes they "add" to his legacy, but not near as much as L&C. How much coverage are you hoping to put into the section? So much so that we need to make a sub section for Pike, et al? -- Btw, Jefferson is also not mentioned once in the Zebulon Pike article {add : to my disappointment). -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:22, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: I have no intention of adding anything but the paragraph and I was brief in mentioning the other expeditions. Of course the Louis and Clark expedition was of primary importance. One paragraph for the other expeditions will suffice. I will check the Zebulon Pike article. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:35, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Honestly I think historians are catching up with Jefferson! Cmguy777 (talk) 00:45, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Fixed Jefferson is mentioned in the Zebulon Pike article. I added references. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:16, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Article size[edit]

The current Thomas Jefferson article size is 188,014 bytes ([1]) 17:36. I believe that some of the sections need to be turned into their own articles in order for the main Thomas Jefferson article to be reduced. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:36, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

On the left column of the article, Tools.Page size, it reports, --- Prose size (text only): 107 kB (17392 words) "readable prose size". --- What criteria are you using for determining that the article is too long, and what is the desired size range stated in your source? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:43, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
WP:SIZE has recommendations, with "less than 40 kb" not supporting a split, and "more than 100 kb" indicating than an article "almost certainly should be divided". They base it less on technical issues (download speed was a concern in years past, and may still apply to readers in less developed countries with low-bandwidth connection), but on reader concentration time and reading comprehension. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:23, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
A quick survey of some prominent presidents shows prose size (text only) as George Washington: 66 kB (10712 words); Abraham Lincoln: 81 kB (13147 words); Theodore Roosevelt: 77 kB (12581 words); Franklin Delano Roosevelt: 83 kB (13631 words).
To reduce the Thomas Jefferson article to the size of FDR, would require a reduction of approximately 20% in either kB or word count.
The one area of distinction for Jefferson that sets him apart from the other presidents is "Political philosophy and views”. As a contributor to that section I would not be opposed to transferring most of that information to a subsidiary article whether its own or combining it into another existing, and so make a substantial reduction to the main Thomas Jefferson article size overall. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:31, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I can see Political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson as a viable article. I also checked Jeffersonianism, which currently is a disambiguation page. We already have Jeffersonian democracy. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:35, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Insert : While we're discussing making a new article for Political philosophy and reducing coverage here, I just noticed that the Democracy subsection is woefully short, considering that Jefferson was one of few forefathers who advanced and developed the idea of Democracy and Republicanism to a degree unmatched by virtually any other. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:25, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree. I was going by the byte size. Apparently article size is measured by Kb and words. I am for starting an article on Jefferson's political philosophy and views. That would reduce this article size and in my opinion improve narration. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:38, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Before we do any reduction of text, if any, (the length of this article hasn't posed a problem for anyone except a couple of editors, Jefferson being an exceptional president in terms of all the history he was involved in) that we make sure the dedicated articles and any new article cover a given topic just as well, if not better. Let's get the dedicated articles up to speed, just as well sourced, with bibliographies, first, before we get 'delete happy' on this page. Let's also be reminded that the Slavery' and Hemings' sections together are long and that both have dedicated articles. Are these articles just as objective and neutral and cover all the things Jefferson did for slaves? Before any text is removed here we should make sure the text/topic is covered just as well, or how and where it will be covered, just as well, first. We don't want to be trashing information, neutrality, objectivity, etc just for the sake of some word count. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 05:01, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
I like the idea of splitting off all but a passing reference to slavery and Hemmings, as that topic is related to the Political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson. Removing that material will contribute to the article's stability. I agree with Gwillhickers insert above that the Democracy section is too short; it too is related to the 'Political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson'.
But it seems like Gwillhickers is thinking of the Thomas Jefferson article as biography of a polymath rather than as political life of a president. Are there biographies as long as this with higher article ratings? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:24, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Not including caption text, tables/charts, TOC, etc, the Barak Obama article, a FA, is more than 11,500 words, while overall markup is at 256,813 bytes, while the markup for the Jefferson article is at 189,245 bytes with 19,000+ words. Also, the B.O. page has a reference section that is very long and is filled with notes, words, so if we were to include this information in the word count it would increases significantly, unlike the 'Notes' section for Jefferson, which is only about a dozen or so separate sentences, most of them short. The Ronald Reagan article, another FA, has about 14,900 words, with markup at 204,131 bytes -- not including the very long reference section, filled with much text/notes. In any case there are other GA's and FA's that are exceptions to page size guidelines, and if ever there was an exception to page length guidelines it would have to be the Jefferson page, as anyone half familiar with Jefferson must know. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:12, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

@Gwillhickers: I don't mind comparing Ronald Reagan with Thomas Jefferson, however, Reagan was a 20th Century President in charge of nuclear weapons in a nuclear age. Jefferson was an early 19th Century President, without any modern technology. The cost of Reagan's White House staff is no comparison to Jefferson's White House staff probably only around 20 people. Obama today spends around $700,000,000 each year in running his White House staff in the 21 Century. With this said, I believe the Jefferson article should coincide with other 19th Century Presidents. His Philosophical views would make a great article and enable this article to reduce context. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:51, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

  • @Cmguy777: These are superficial comparisons. The main consideration is how much significant history a president was involved in. In Jefferson's case he was involved with (very) much of it. i.e. DOI, American Revolution, Louisiana Purchase, Louis and Clark, Virginia legislation/laws, Democracy, Burr, Lawyer, SOS, VP, two term President, slavery/Hemings-et al, anti-slavery initiatives, University of Virginia, A.P.S. president, etc, etc. We can't say we should cover Jefferson less than e.g.Reagan, Obama, simply because he didn't have nuclear weapons and "modern technology" at his disposal, or because he lived during a different era. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:16, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes, Jefferson's philosophical/political views would make a great article. Let's see how that turns out before we decided to remove such content from this article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 04:03, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Agreed, the new article should be fashioned and copy edited and rated before deletion of any material here.
The Political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson article proposed could include a "Legacy" section to include influences on Jacksonian Democracy and Lincoln's philosophy -- I'm looking for a volume on intellectual political history. More should be written about Jefferson on Wikipedia. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:15, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: No one is denying Jefferson's great contributions and statecraft to America especially the Louisiana Purchase. I believe the article however needs to focus on Jefferson the 19th Century President. How much did Jefferson apply the principles in the Declaration of Independance while he was President? His democratic ideals have remained with us throughout the centuries. Jefferson's aristocratic lifestyle was derived from the work and capital investment of his slaves and he lived in an 18th and 19th century slave society. Cmguy777 (talk) 15:18, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • @Cmguy777:, this is the Jefferson biography and your desire to see it focus on the 19th century seems to be overlooking the American Revolution, et al. Jefferson lived approximately 2/3rds of his life in the 18th century. Though Jefferson's presidency occurred in the 19th century he was just involved politically in the 18th, perhaps more so, given the DOI, term as SOS, VP and the Revolution itself. In any case, you seem to be switching tracks here. How does your concern for focus on the 19th century translate into article size? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:36, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • @TheVirginiaHistorian: It would be nice to see such an article also cover how Jefferson's philosophical and political ideals were adapted in many of the other revolutions for independence that followed in his wake around the world. Mention also about how Jefferson has been attacked by the political left/marxists, etc for his concept of god given inalienable rights, which have fundamentally served to buttress revolutions while undermining oppressive monarchies and communist/facist ideology, would also be a welcomed sub-topic it seems, putting his philosophy in perspective with much of the western world at that time. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:36, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: This is a presidential biography. Expanding on Jefferson's philosophy in another article would reduce the size of this article. I am for keeping a philosphy section in this article, but expand on his philosophy in an independant article. I believe his philosophy should be put after the end of his life chronology. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:24, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
@CMGuy777--This is the biography of the human being, Thomas Jefferson, whose greatest achievement so far as mainstream historians are concerned, was the presidency of the United States. Only in that sense is this a "presidential biography." We have a separate article on his presidency. Yopienso (talk) 04:02, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The Political philosophy and views section is near the end of the article already, along with the Slaves and slavery, Religion and Interests and activities sections. All of Jefferson's history, the actual events, (e.g.marriage, lawyer, S.O.S. ... President) comes beforehand and is in chronological order. As I said, if we create a Philosophy/Politics article beforehand then we can discuss what content we should remove from the biography in the respective subsections. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 02:00, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The Later years section and subsections, actual history and events, has been moved and placed before the Political philosophy and views and other sections. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 02:30, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Another related start-class article is Jeffersonian democracy. I made a couple additions to further. and see also. in article sections, --- I'd appreciate an editor review of them. I'm not sure of what convention to apply here, can the links to articles in the main body to be repeated in the See also section?
In part because of the article's length, it seems to me that a recap of all links embedded in the main body would be useful to the general reader, and that there might be a division in See also between articles which are directly related to Jefferson and those of tangential interest. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:29, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
The new links/topics are okay, imo. The idea behind See also is to introduce topics that are not directly related to the subject (like First Party System is with Jefferson himself, but still have enough relevance such that it adds perspective to the article/section. The links in the "See also" section do not have to be directly related to the topic of the article because one purpose of "See also" links is to enable readers to explore tangentially related topics. Of course, there are a lot of opinions about what a See also section should include. Some feel a See also section is not needed if the article is "comprehensive and well written", yet there are 100s of well written GA and FA articles that have 'See also' sections, or employ a see also template here and there as you have done, inviting the reader to explore related articles that might otherwise never get read. See also is synonymous with Further. In any case discretion should be used. As sections go, I wouldn't add more than two other topics, whether they're presented with a See also or Further template.
As dedicated and other articles go, we don't want the Jefferson biography to simply serve as a glorified table of contents for other articles. Some subjects should be well covered here, regardless if there are dedicated articles for them, like, the DOI, Presidency, etc. A healthy amount of textual overlap is good in some cases. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 15:22, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

edit break 01[edit]

@Gwillhickers:Thanks for moving the philosophy section out of the life chronology. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

@Yopienso:. Respectfully. Yes. I agree Jefferson was a human being. Every bio is about the life of someone. Jefferson was President of the United States, the highest office held in the United States. The infobox is an office holder info box. I am all for focusing on other aspects of Jefferson's life, but I believe would best be served in individual articles (if excessive in length), such as Jefferson's political philosophy. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
You missed my point. This article is about the man, Thomas Jefferson. Wikipedia would have an article on TJ even if he had never been the POTUS. It would be about the author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, the Father of the University of Virginia, and all that. "Presidency of Thomas Jefferson" is about TJ as president. Therefore, this is not a presidential bio; it's the biography of a man who, among many activities and achievements, was also the 3rd POTUS.
My point: I disagree with your belief that "the article however needs to focus on Jefferson the 19th Century President." Yopienso (talk) 22:39, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Slavery and Santo Domingo[edit]

Brodie Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974) pages 342-344 discusses why Jefferson was silent on Emancipation during his Presidency. There was hysteria over Gabriel's Rebellion and the slaughter of whites on Santo Domingo that kept Jefferson cool towards emancipating African Americans in the United States. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:48, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I believe this information needs to be added to the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 03:27, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Besides Gabriel's Rebellion, the object lesson for slave holding communities would be Jean-Jacques Dessalines on the island of Santo Domingo at Saint-Domingue later Haiti. It is addressed in part at Thomas Jefferson#Santo Domingo revolt. Does that need some clarification?
The descriptive words to illicit the image of mass slaughter of whites without discrimination to attain immediate emancipation by the 1850s was the term, "servile insurrection". That was the rationale for the slave patrols which were especially active at each crisis or panic. Additionally, servile insurrection was assumed by many slave holders to necessarily follow immediate emancipation. Although simultaneously slaves were reported to northerners (and in the Lost Cause historiography) as content in their condition throughout the Southern labor system. Modern historians paraphrase concern for servile insurrection as a fear of "race war". I'm not sure what the term was in Jefferson's time.
Should this issue be restated in summary in political philosophy somehow? Do you have proposed language sourced from Brodie? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:13, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

@TheVirginiaHistorian: Brodie is the source for the Santo Domingo Revolt. I added the section:

1. Gives the reader more understanding on Napoleon and Louisiana.
2. Gives Jefferson's fears of a general Emancipation of African Americans.
3. Gives understanding why Jefferson was quiet on Emanicapation during his Presidency. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:38, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
This issue was political and took place during Jefferson's Presidency. The Santo Domingo revolt resulted in the opening of negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:38, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: -- Cm', nice bit of writing, though TVH raises some interesting points -- however I gotta find this a little funny as you were recently discussing ways to make the biography shorter. Whatever. I changed "African leader" to 'revolutionary leader', as Toussaint Louverture was born in Haiti, spent most of his life there and eventually went to France where he died, and according to his biography, there is no mention of him ever stepping foot in Africa, much less ever being any sort of leader there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 03:47, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Here we come to the limits of racial classification in fashion today. In one sense Toussaint Louverture was African-American, as Haiti is in the Americas, but that term would be completely misleading in this context. When races were referred to in the children's song as "red, yellow, black and white", he would be described as "black". Surely we are reluctant to coin our own term "African-Santo Domingue" for this article only. At Toussaint Louverture he is described with the nick name of his own time, "the Black Napoleon".
@Cmguy777: Perhaps he can be introduced as "revolutionary leader known as "the Black Napoleon". Or linking his name to that WP article may suffice. The conventions in fashion to show respect regarding racial terms have changed three times in my lifetime, I only wish to speak and write with respect. So I happily defer to others for the solution to communicate Louverture's skin color were that descriptor found to be relevant here. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I copyedited the section to remove other "African" descriptors, relocated the illustration adjacent the subsection text, tweaked sizing, and added the image of Dessalines. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:16, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I concur, but at the same time we don't want to be walking on eggshells just to appease those who think they can control the dialog simply by taking advantage of such sentiment, as they do with elected officials and others who are afraid they'll be called a racist. In his biography Louverture is referred to as a 'rebel leader', a 'black leader' and a 'military leader'. I would say 'rebel leader', or 'black rebel leader', would best describe the man and won't insult readers of Haitian descent. Esp since 'black' is widely accepted among other blacks and most whites. Lerone Bennett, Senior Editor of Ebony Magazine himself uses the word 'black' in his own dialog. He wrote it in 1967 but it still sheds light on the issue. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 15:43, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Remember this article is on Jefferson. Louverture and Dessalines are important and have their own articles. The main threat for Jefferson was Leclerc's French army. Yellow fever and the Haitian Rebellion in some ways paved the way for the Louisiana Purchase. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:06, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
The two photos of Leclerc and Dessalines look great ! Cmguy777 (talk) 16:11, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

@Cmguy777, TheVirginiaHistorian: -- I wouldn't go so far as to say the Haitian revolution "paved the way", for the Louisiana Purchase as Napoleon was in dire need of money to fund the wars he was engaged in. Had the Haitian revolution occurred in times of peace France very well would have come to Haiti in force and retaken its colony and the likelihood for giving up such a vast territory on the North American continent would also not have been so. Yes, the section is long enough. No need to do much else with it. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:20, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

The money maker in North America for France was sugar, not so much prospective revenues from American trade through New Orleans. The point of maintaining French territory on on the North American continent was to feed the slaves producing the sugar in Santo Domingue/Haiti. Once Haiti was lost by rebellion and yellow fever, there was no longer any immediate need for a French-held Louisiana Territory, especially as the Americans were willing to pay in gold which could in turn be used to help prosecute Napoleon's war ventures. If Brodie as a source says Haitian independence from France "paved the way" for the Louisiana Purchase, we can adopt it. I recall the same insight in so many words from Jon Meacham "Thomas Jefferson: the art of power" 2012 p.386. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:31, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I find it a little amazing that France's interest in New Orleans, a major seaport with strategic significance, ala the entire Mississippi River, and the entire Louisiana territory, with all of its resources, revolved around feeding slaves in a colony like Haiti. France also had colonies elsewhere in the Caribbean and in Brazil that produced sugar. It seems France would have sold the Louisiana territory regardless of the state of affairs in Haiti given the great costs of war. Also, Jefferson's silence on emancipation was largely the result of the growing political division in Congress over the issue of slavery. The section claims that the rebellions were the reason. I would look beyond Brodie (the only source used for this section, btw) to be clear on how much of a role Haiti played in Napoleon's decision to sell the territory, and how much the rebellions lended themselves to Jefferson's silence during his presidency. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Intuitively, I've got no problem with a source which might say in Napoleon's calculus, gold for European war trumped food for Caribbean plantation labor, and the loss of Haiti simply justified accelerating the process and disregarding the treaty with Spain allowing its repossession, --- once the U.S. offered gold for New Orleans. Then it was, more gold is better, so have all of the Louisiana Territory for more gold. But I do not have that source at hand.
All of Jefferson's writing based on Enlightenment philosophy pointed to a Louverture as the champion of revolution. The emergence of a Dessalines at the overthrow of the old order was as embarrassing to his systematic thought as the Reign of Terror was earlier. In the face of southern fears of servile insurrection, Jefferson fell silent on domestic emancipation. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:58, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
That seems to make sense. i.e.Louverture cemented Jefferson's and the south's concerns about servile insurrection which in turn was causing a serious rift in the Union.
I can concede that Haiti greased the wheels for the Louisiana Purchase, but it seems that the war that was breathing down Napoleon's neck was still the primary impetus for his decision to sell, and the section should note that distinction. When I get the chance I'll see if I can take the ball further than Brodie would. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:42, 5 July 2014 (UTC)


In the Santo Domingo section it says "loosing 25,000 men" when it should be "losing 25,000 men" there's something stopping me from editing it myself so hopefully someone else can do it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:50, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I tried the copyedit, "Nevertheless, the revolt continued and Leclerc lost 25,000 men in nine months." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:46, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

@TheVirginiaHistorian: Thanks ! Cmguy777 (talk) 16:07, 4 July 2014 (UTC)