Lance Banning

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Lance Banning (January 24, 1942 – January 31, 2006) was an American historian who specialized in studying the politics of the United States' founding fathers. He taught mostly at the University of Kentucky.


Banning was a native of Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri, and from Washington University in St. Louis with a master's and PhD.

He taught at Brown University, and University of Kentucky.[1] He served as the Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh.[2] In 1997, he taught at the University of Groningen.[3]

He was among the scholars who was commissioned by the newly formed Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society in 1999 to review materials about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, after the 1998 DNA study was published indicating a match between the Jefferson male line and a descendant of Eston Hemings, the youngest son. Unlike the majority of historians, the commission thought there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that Jefferson was the father of Hemings' children, and proposed his younger brother Randolph Jefferson, who had never seriously been put forward until after the 1998 DNA study. The report was criticized on numerous grounds. Generally since 2000, the field of Jeffersonian scholarship has changed to accept Jefferson's paternity of Hemings' children.

But M. Andrew Holowchak's 2013 book, "Framing a Legend" critically and exhaustively examines that scholarship and establishes more than reasonable doubt that elderly Jefferson had a secret affair of long duration with his young domestic.

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