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Talk:Thomas Jefferson/Archive 39

Happy New Year to ALL the Jefferson Editors/Challenges!!

To ALL of you, I extend my best wishes for 2016! Here's to our average reader, and here's to a 2016 GA for TJ. How about we express this Happy New Year in each of TJ's languages? I have the English covered. Hoppyh (talk) 21:29, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

¡Próspero Año Nuevo! (Aun si no estoy muy convencida que TJ hablaba mucho español.) Hoppyh es más optimista que yo; le saludo por su buen ánimo y espero que sea contagioso. YoPienso (talk) 21:58, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Καλή χρονιά -Greek (kali chronya)
felix sit annus novus - Latin
Bonne Année - French
Buon anno / Felice anno nuovo - Italian
From what I can gather, TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:51, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you! The Greek had to be quite a challenge. Hoppyh (talk) 13:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Presidency proposal

Draft #4 proposal on West Point.

In 1802, the President and Congress established the United States Military Academy at West Point.[116] During the election campaign and at the beginning of his administration, Jefferson faced open contempt by many officers and appointed officials in the Army establishment. The constitutionally elected president undertook to “Republicanize” the Army to ensure its loyalty to future elected administrations. The military academy was central to his long term purpose consistent with his devotion to education. But Jefferson also immediately replaced Federalists in government, eliminated offices by legislation and insisted that new appointments went to the Republican faithful as a part of wide-ranging reform in other departments as well.<Crackel, Theodore J., in McDonald, Robert ed. 2004 p.100> This was consistent with Jefferson’s mature “contextualist” interpretation of the Constitution in which he allowed broad interpretation for the federal government in nationalistic spheres but still insisted on strictly enumerated powers when they were shared with the states.<Mayer, David N. in McDonald, ed. 2004 p.55> Subsequently from 1802-1833, West Point alumni both in uniform and as civilian leaders furnished nationalist administrative and executive leadership in the frontier territories.<Watson, Samuel J. in McDonald, Robert ed. 2004 p.155>

  • Support. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:07, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. That is much clearer and would be a good addition to History of the United States Military Academy. It's too much detail for TJ's bio, though, since this is an encyclopedia article, not a book. YoPienso (talk) 17:42, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Per Yopienso above. Hoppyh (talk) 20:18, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose-Favor I am in favor of mentioning Jefferson created West Point and that he wanted to have a national military officer corps, but the above paragraph I believe goes beyond that information. Actually I don't think the paragraph helps Jefferson at all because Jefferson comes off as a partican "hack". The sentence on "contextualization" is confusing, "broad interpretations" versus "strictly enumerated powers". I don't think that the average reader understands this. Again, sounds as if Jefferson is enforcing the Constitution only for his Republican Party's political advantage. That minimizes the importance of his presidency. These are my opinions. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:35, 23 December 2015 (UTC) Cmguy777 (talk) 20:58, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Here is a one sentence alternative: "In 1802, desiring a national officer corps and to promote his Republican Party, Jefferson signed a Congressional bill that created the United States Military Academy at West Point." Cmguy777 (talk) 00:05, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Alternative-2. for USMA. “In 1802, desiring a national officer corps which would be loyal to whatever civilian government was chosen in future elections, Jefferson signed a bill to create the United States Military Academy at West Point with cadets appointed by Members of Congress.”
The first principle is that the people consent to their government. When they changed their government in a Presidential and Congressional “revolution of 1800” the principled little-r republican principle is for the central government to conform with the will of the people. Jefferson attacked the Federalist appointees who vocally opposed his administration from inside his administration, and accommodated with those who did not, over half of the carry-overs as it turned out. But that element of the story is not in this source. The Army and Treasury were two such departments. The USMA also solved the problem of a loyal officer corps subservient to civilian rule 1802-1833 as sourced. The appointees of a Democratic-Republican Congress turned out to be nationalists just as the Federalists had been. The main point of the passage is not the USMA as an academy. It may be that rather than simply mentioning West Point, a section may be in order concerning Jefferson's institutional reform of the executive department which successfully led to six consecutive presidencies over 24 uninterrupted years of the nation's first 36. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:51, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
re " loyal to whatever civilian government was chosen in future elections" that does not work. "civilian" government is OR. Jefferson wanted to get rid of all Federalists in government service because he feared them all as disloyal to republican values. That's called straight partisanship. Rjensen (talk) 14:31, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes. I agree Rjensen. Jefferson was partician just as much as Adams toward his own party even though he stated "We are all Republicans and Federalists". The differnce is that Jefferson started West Point from an engineering or scientific advantage too in order to compete militarily internationally. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:11, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Source:The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783–1812 p 422-423
Alternative sentence: "On March 16 1802, desiring a national officer engineering corps and to promote his Republican Party officers, Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act that created the United States Military Academy at West Point." Cmguy777 (talk) 16:43, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I added a paragraph on Jefferson and West Point in the Presidency section per discussion using Scythes 2014 reference. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:36, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Okay, it seems that will have to do for USMA only. It seems hard to get folks to read page 100 as sourced in McDonald [1], Crackel’s article, not other authors: Jefferson actions were not as a partisan hack, but as a principled republican, with “accommodation of [some Federalists in administration positions]”, he reorganized “in much the same way to both the civil and military establishments”, in “a carefully modulated program”, thus:

Jefferson’s answer was a carefully considered program of reformation that included the replacement of many Federalists, the accommodation of others, an insistence that new appointments go only to the Republican faithful, and, in some cases, the simple expedient of eliminating offices through legislative action. Jefferson reacted in much the same way to both the civil and military establishments that he interited — he employed a carefully modulated program of reform that would ultimately bring them into line with the broad aspirations and goals of the new Republican regime. —Crackel in McDonald 2007. p.100

That is a "new Republican regime" elected to Presidency and Congress by three times the electorate for six times the duration of the Adams administration. It seems we cannot get quit of the defeated and discredited New England Federalist bias, even with reliably sourced modern scholarship to give us some balance to the repeated mischaracterizations by Jefferson's opponents. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 18:19, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is taking a very minor aspect of Jefferson's presidency and segueing into general issues that warrant inclusion: republican ideology and partisanship. TFD (talk) 19:31, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Perhaps it tries to do too much but the proposal is not good tertiary summary for multiple reasons already discussed - per prior request, it should go another way, much of it in other articles (with detail/debate expansion in those articles), if at all. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:39, 24 December 2015 (UTC)


Pushing to include the Military Peace Establishment Act, Part 2

Please stop!

  • We already decided to leave West Point out.
  • CMguy, right here in this section we have 3 opposes and 1 support. How do you get adding the info "per talk" from that?
  • NB: CMguy revealed his bias with this comment: Actually I don't think the paragraph helps Jefferson at all because Jefferson comes off as a partican [sic] "hack". We aren't supposed to be "helping" Jefferson!
  • TVH, "the replacement of many Federalists" and "an insistence that new appointments go only to the Republican faithful" and "bring them into line with the broad aspirations and goals of the new Republican regime" does in fact mean TJ was motivated by partisanship. YoPienso (talk) 19:07, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
  • YoPienso: Gwillhickers proposed that addition...I modified the addition and added to the article presenting a reliable source...Rjensen then further modified the addition...Rjensen and Cmguy777 agreed that the primary motivation was to republicanize the Army by getting rid of the Federalists...that is "Per Discussion"...I was for adding adding information on West Point but not the way Gwillhickers had presented...Please read my arguement...I don't appreciate being ordered around... Cmguy777 (talk) 20:48, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
YoPienso: I revealed my opinion not bias...This is a discussion page...I added to the article the exact number of increase of Democratic-Republican officers...I said "not helping Jefferson" I did not say editors need to help Jefferson. I don't believe editors should denigrate a U.S. President and the article should be presented as neutral as possible. I was not trying to hide the fact that Jefferson was partican...But 29 out of 162 officers Democratic-Republican is not a take over of the military by the Democratic-Republicans. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:54, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The problem is, the consensus was to leave West Point out of this article. I'm requesting that we stick with what we decided unless and until there's a new decision.
I appreciate that you tried to spell my user name correctly. It's actually YoPienso. (Capital "P" preferred but not necessary; I managed to change my sig but am stuck with the Yopienso official user name.)
Your bias is evident when you want to omit something that doesn't "help" Jefferson.
Sorry if I sounded bossy. YoPienso (talk) 21:01, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I do want to "help" the Jefferson article be neutral and reliable as possible under Wikipedia guidelines and I believe adding the paragraph on West Point helped the Jefferson article. I corrected your name spelling. All I said was "not helping Jefferson". Correctly I should have said "not helping the Jefferson article". Cmguy777 (talk) 21:11, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's what you should have said, but what you said in fact was, Actually I don't think the paragraph helps Jefferson at all because Jefferson comes off as a partican "hack". Your bias is very clear, there, that you didn't want TJ to be portrayed as partisan. He was, though, like every president since Washington.
Thanks for fixing my name! Do you object to my dropping the 777 from yours? I don't mind being called Yop in discussions. YoPienso (talk) 21:22, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
No I don't mind...There is a difference between "partican" and "hack". The Skythes 2014 source says Jefferson removed Federalists from key posts...Quite possibly there was a needed change or reform in the military...Let the reader decide if Jefferson was partican...Speaking of bias...your comment "like every president since Washington" could be considered bias too. But can we stop the bias accusations for now please and refocus on the Jefferson article ? Cmguy777 (talk) 21:32, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Sure. I need to refocus on cooking Christmas dinner! :) Happy Holidays!! YoPienso (talk) 21:35, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Okay...Thanks....YoPienso Would you oppose editors voting on the paragraph you deleted from the article ? Cmguy777 (talk) 22:02, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
We should not provide evidence and let the readers decide. As a tertiary source, articles should begin with what experts sources, including the evidence they present, and state the degree of acceptance of each approach. TFD (talk) 22:31, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
West Point is a wack-a-mole here. The WP addition has been voted down repeatedly above—the persistent back and forth despite a vote needs to be ended so other areas can be improved/voted on. If the group is unable to take a vote and then move on there is little hope of progress.Hoppyh (talk) 01:06, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Many leading generals have come from West Point. Wikipedia policy is to be neutral and reliable. That allows readers to have their own opinions. Tertiary sources do not gaurantee neutrality. Books, magazines, and articles make money and have a financial motivation. Some authors are pro Jefferson (Malone and Peterson) and some authors are not. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:38, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Neutrality means the "article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to the weight of that aspect in the body of reliable sources on the subject." It does not mean the article should skew toward topics that editors find interesting or important. It may be that founding West Point ranks among Jefferson's top achievements. But you do not need to prove that to Wikipedia editors, you need to prove it to people who write about Jefferson and whose works are used to determine appropriate weight. TFD (talk) 01:31, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Pushing to include the Military Peace Establishment Act, Part 3

Vote to vote

Here is the paragraph that was deleted from the article. Please vote on whether to put the paragraph up for a vote. Not trying to "wack a mole" But Gwillhickers requested a paragraph be put in on West Point. This is a good faith edit. Not trying to rock the West Point vote. This is not a vote to put in the article but a vote to see if the paragraph is worth voting on. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:32, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

"Desiring a national officer engineering corps and to promote republican values and officers, Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802 that created the United States Military Academy at West Point.[1] The law reorganized the military, reduced standing Army officers and expenditures, and increased the number of Democratic-Republicans to 29 out of 162 officers. [1] Key staff officer Army positions, a majority held by Federalists, were eliminated.[1]" Cmguy777 (talk) 05:30, 25 December 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c Scythes 2014, pp. 422-423.
  • Favor voting. The paragraph has a solid reference and is written well. The creation of USMA is an important and signifigant event in American history. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:30, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Favor voting. The USMA is important as a part of the overall reform Jefferson undertook to make his administration responsive to the will of the American people, the newly elected Congress, and his own direction. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:37, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

Oppose FOR THE THIRD TIME Hoppyh (talk) 16:40, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

No. You opposed continuing the ASW-TVH debate on reliable sourcing and historiography. Then, you opposed a passage that folded the USMA into Jefferson’s constitutional thinking as president, multi-department administration reform, and impact of the academy alumni during the Virginia Dynasty of presidents. Now for the FIRST time you oppose a passage on West Point as a part of Jefferson’s War Department reform.
Ah, I see, for the THIRD time you oppose any mention of Jefferson’s solution to the republican problem of a standing army without resorting to dependence on mercenaries or a sponsor state, such as the contemporary Republic of San Marino. Is there is no scholarly support for Jefferson considering it a problem, or no scholarly support for his solution? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:21, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
What I (and others) oppose is this level of WP detail. Hoppyh (talk) 14:40, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Editors should be allowed to have their own decisions concerning approving or disapproving a proposed paragraph. A three sentence paragraph is considered to much WP detail ? The paragraph has more to do concerning Jefferson getting more support in the U.S. military. Four out of six key staff officer positions were Federalists. This was an era when New England was considering to succeed from the Union (Essex Junto 1812). Jefferson eliminated all the Federalist key staff officers. Jefferson's successor another Anti-Federalist was James Madison a Democratic-Republican. Jefferson needed loyalty in the U.S. military to be president. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:03, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
So far the votes are 2 Favors voting 1 Opposes voting...Editor particiaption is appreciated. Thanks. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:30, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm reluctant to participate because:
  1. Voting on voting seems silly to me.
  2. Consensus isn't gained by voting.
  3. The majority of us have already expressed our opposition to the idea numerous times. YoPienso (talk) 01:49, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Consensus is not gained by voting. Voting clarifies the minority position which is to be accommodated by the majority in consensus building. It is not clear that the majority on excluding West Point as an academy in the introduction to Jefferson's presidency is a majority to exclude a broader discussion of Jefferson’s administrative reforms during his presidency. YoPienso, Alanscottwalker, Coemgenus, Hoppyh all see West Point as an academy of lesser import than UVA in Jefferson’s correspondence and in the literature, and so wish to dismiss it from the introduction part of the Presidency section. Gwillhickers, Cmguy777, TVH, are interested in West Point as an educational institution, they are joined by RJensen and TFD who are interested in West Point only in a larger context of political reform, which is given weight in the literature. So abandoning West Point as an academy does not mean no mention of it at all anywhere.

Jefferson’s political reforms make the partisan Federalist administration holdovers conform to the goals of the Constitutionally elected Republican party, which includes a larger discussion of orderly replacement at vacancy, abolition of offices, and firings. In this larger context the USMA is a part of republicanizing the Army officer corps by linking its cadets to Congressional appointment, addressing Jefferson’s prolific concern in his correspondence over a standing army. West Point need not be wedged into the introductory section of the Presidency, it can be mentioned in a section on Jefferson’s political reforms.

Meacham quotes the French envoy’s report to Paris, “Mr. Jefferson doesn’t at all hesitate to say that the previous administration conducted itself under anti-republican maxims” and the new president was determined to correct such “inequalities and errors”. As Meacham observes, “Jefferson had the strength to do largely as he wished.” Regardless of Federalist protests which are amply represented in the historical literature, Jefferson had the votes in both houses of Congress to do as he wished. We should report it in his biography. (Meacham p. 373-374) TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:19, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Consensus is not gained by voting. Voting clarifies the minority position which is to be accommodated by the majority in consensus building. - I may have overlooked it, but I couldn't find this language in WP:Consensus. Hoppyh (talk) 21:12, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
And TVH and CMguy77 are muddying their position rather than clarifying it. First, West Point itself was so important it had to be included. Now, "republicanizing" the army is of prime importance. My interpretation: they are really intrigued by TJ and West Point and keep trying to shoehorn it into an article where it doesn't belong. YoPienso (talk) 22:05, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Pushing to include the Military Peace Establishment Act, Part 4


I will put the paragraph up for vote then. Please let me clarify that West Point does not have to be included or excluded in the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:17, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

  • "Desiring a national officer engineering corps and to promote republican values and officers, Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802 that created the United States Military Academy at West Point.[1] The law reorganized the military, reduced standing Army officers and expenditures, and increased the number of Democratic-Republicans to 29 out of 162 officers. [1] Key staff officer Army positions, a majority held by Federalists, were eliminated.[1]" Cmguy777 (talk) 01:17, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Favor This paragraph mentions the Military Peace Establishment Act a landmark legislation for its times. The Creation of USMA was only part of the Act...The Army would be reorganized to promote Democractic-Republican ideals and loyalty to Jefferson. Federalists held key staff positions in the U.S. military and Jefferson needed his party to advance in the military to keep the Army from being independent of Jefferson or possibly succeedimg from the Union. If there was a New England succesion Jefferson would have control of the Army. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:17, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
This attempt at a vote is a ruse; my previous Oppose vote stands as do the others. Hoppyh (talk) 01:41, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Oppose per WP:UNDUE. It's interesting and verifiable, but too detailed for this article. We should hat this section and not discuss the MPEA again for a very long time. YoPienso (talk) 02:09, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

JUST A MINUTE HERE!! I just realized you put the paragraph up for a vote with no consensus from your previous "vote to vote." This demonstrates serious WP:IDHT, so I'm hatting the whole thing. YoPienso (talk) 02:24, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Do editors need Yopensio's permission for every detail of this article? Why "West Point" and the Military Peace Establishment Act is so controversial is beyond me. No ruse. No pushing was done either but an attempt for a good faith discussion has been averted. My initial paragraph was deleted from the article and I felt deserved discussion. I believe Yopensio even stated this was a "good little paragraph". I could care less if West Point is mentioned in the article, rather just thought it was worth discussing and would improve the article. Gwillhickers intial paragraph was not hatted. I thought the discussion remained open. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:43, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b c Scythes 2014, pp. 422-423.

Article is overwhelming

The following is from WP:AS on Article Size: A page of about 30 kB to 50 kB of readable prose, which roughly corresponds to 4,000 to 10,000 words, takes between 30 and 40 minutes to read at average speed, which is right on the limit of the average concentration span of 40 to 50 minutes. At 50 kB and above it may be beneficial to move some sections to other articles and replace them with summaries per Wikipedia:Summary style... With Jefferson clearly above that level, I believe my assertion is reasonable that the article is already beyond the length and breadth for the average reader. Nevertheless, I do understand there is no agreement on this. Hoppyh (talk) 22:15, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

I just laboriously copied and pasted the article text into Microsoft Word 2013. I left out as many of the titles as was practical, but it was hit or miss. I had to copy by section to avoid the sidebar and infobox and captions, etc. I did not include any of the end matter, stopping at Most prominent are the words inscribed around the monument near the roof: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." The count is 11,609 words, which is too much but not twice too much. With everything but the left sidebar, it's 12,554. YoPienso (talk) 22:45, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
The page size script I ran gives 11,518 words of readable prose (it tries to skip headings and charts, but it's not perfect). Either way, yes: according to the guidelines, it's too large. --Coemgenus (talk) 23:53, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
I've adjusted my estimate comment accordingly. Ideally, if we could approach the edits as Wikipedians primarily, and Jeffersonians secondarily, keeping the average reader in mind as we go about this, progress could be ours. The substance and scholarship are in place - we have worked our collective tails off to make that happen. Why not maintain it in a manner that maximizes readership? Hoppyh (talk) 00:32, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Just scanning the article off handedly, I would nominate four sections to be cut somewhat based on my overall sense of wp:weight and proportion for a whole-life biography: a) Minister to France, b) Secretary of State, c) Chesapeake-Leapard affair and Embargo Act, and d) Reconciliation with Adams. Yet I think all still deserve their own section. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:07, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I would suggest that individual editors pick a section to work on. If anything is removed, put it on the talk p.. When the editor is finished, let the others know and discussion can begin on that section, and votes taken if needed. I would also suggest that if a vote is needed, we should try to get at least 10 editors to chime in if possible. There are editors gnawing at the bit to add further material - I would suggest that be discussed before it is added. These are just suggestions. Hoppyh (talk) 15:54, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • It was good to see Hoppy's suggestion that if we remove text that it be placed on the talk page so we can deal with it and discuss matters there, however I would not attempt to remove entire sections for the sake of page length alone, as this will also raise guideline issues. Let's not ignore one guideline to satisfy another. Obviously the people who drafted this guideline are more concerned with preserving content than they are about an article's length. It was also reassuring to see the suggestion that if a vote is conducted that we try to get at least 10 votes, so as not to let a couple of disgruntled editors have their way when issues are disputed. Having said that, let's remember that 'page length' is indeed a guideline and we are allowed reasonable discretions if we need a bit more space to sum things up adequately. i.e.Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. The Jefferson biography is obviously one of those exceptions. If there is more than a marginal consensus to remove entire sections I would agree with TVH's suggestions for section removal. Section removal will require a broad consensus.
  • Regarding the average reader. It's safe to assume that most of them have read books that go beyond 10,000 words, yet they remain interested in the narrative anyway, so let's not be consumed by the notion that if the article goes as a bit beyond this number that the average reader will become board and walk away bleary-eyed. Most readers only read up on the topics they are most interested in anyways, which is why we have a TOC to direct them to the given section. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:43, 30 December 2015 (UTC)


I am hopeful you agree that material which an editor wishes to add should first be discussed/voted on as well. Hoppyh (talk) 21:56, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
This is what I tried to do before which resulted in a serious edit war, but yes, I agree. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:00, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I also agree with Hoppyh's plan of action. I'm concerned about some of Gwillhickers's innovations about the rules, though. There is no quorum requirement for consensus, so the idea that we get "at least 10 votes" is not based in any policy or guideline. This page is fairly active, and getting editor input has never been a problem. The only purpose can be to enable more filibustering by a minority of editors who, though outnumbered, will not agree to follow the consensus. Have we ever had 10 !votes? If we abide by this arbitrary quorum requirement, there will never be consensus to do anything. It's a clever bit of wikilawyering, but if we accept it, we may as well just freeze the article in stone right now.
I'm also confused by the decree that this article is "obviously one of those exceptions" to the rules on page length. Well, people always think the things they care about are exceptions to rules they don't like. If we always allowed for exceptions just based on an editor's say-so, the rule would cease to exist. This is why we have rules! So let's agree to follow the rules, even when we don't like them. That seems like a simple request, doesn't it? Let's follow the guidelines of the encyclopedia. It's generally a self-policing place, and we shouldn't have to resort to administrator intervention just to enforce something we all agree is the rule (even if we don't all agree it should be the rule). --Coemgenus (talk) 22:10, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I agree - the number ten is arbitrary - it is an expression of the hope we could get more editors' input. It would be great if we could somehow agree that the article is already an exception on length, and readers who want more detail can use the links to other articles. We will not get anywhere without an agreement on this. And I don't think the numbers I quoted from WP above about attention span are comparable to books. Hoppyh (talk) 22:33, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I think there is an obvious suggestion: Make "Political and Religious Views" and "Interests and Activities" into seperate articles. That would reduce text and can be done quickly. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:13, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. Although I have participated in expanding both sections on this page, I think that Cmguy has a good idea to remove "Political and Religious Views" and "Interests and Activities" into seperate articles. Just as long as they are linked from this page, perhaps in See also. Is there a title which could encompass both? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:34, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I support that, too. As TVH says, we definitely should make sure there are links on this page that make it obvious that the reader can learn more at the sub-articles. --Coemgenus (talk) 13:19, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - It would also help to use the sub article Presidency of Thomas Jefferson (linked at the Presidency heading) for detail from sections such as the Chesapeake-Leapard Affair mentioned by TVH and the additional West Point material that has been disputed. Also, if a section is removed entirely, the sub article can probably be linked in the lead as well as "See Also" section Hoppyh (talk) 13:53, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Concur. Although "West Point material" would include my draft proposal noting the republican nationalist contributions of USMA alumni on the frontier, --- I still think something can be added to the narrative in this article on Jefferson's sweeping executive department reforms to conform the government to elected administrations under republican principles. But I note for the sake of conversation, that George Washington has GA status with 12735 words, “readable prose size” (versus our 11291) and with egregious over-illustration on postage and currency which amounts to an collector’s album which imo definitely belongs in a daughter article of some sort, U.S. Presidents on U.S. postage stamps, etc.
--- Not to cause trouble on another page, I'm just observing there is latitude given among GA articles in how editors on each page choose to use their discretion in applying the rules. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 16:20, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
That is the case with all the "top five" presidents, as well as others. The readership issue no doubt applies equally to them. I think we should strive to use Jefferson to set a precedent for them. And with reference to the postage, I don't know about Washington but when we were working on Lincoln we had that problem and the source was our beloved GWillhickers. Hoppyh (talk) 16:47, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
It would be hard to find a greater aficionado than myself, see History of Virginia on stamps, Territories of the United States on stamps, and Commemoration of the American Civil War on postage stamps, the last named by an editor more convolutedly minded than me(!). I have enjoyed collaborating with Gwillhickers on all of these. But I'm afraid we are sidetracked somehow. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 18:38, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
There seems to be concurrence on making the sub articles although Gwillhickers has yet to comment...each section then could be a one paragraph summary linked to their respected sub articles. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:13, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I think we should wait to hear from @Gwillhickers: and also @Rjensen:. Hoppyh (talk) 19:54, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Is the article overwhelming? No, Jefferson is a very complex person. Readers interested in Jefferson deserved the sophisticated coverage provided by this article. Wiki'd length guidelines are designed to be an average & must cover 5 million articles. The guideline make it clear there will be exceptions --and And this is an especially important article. If it takes someone an hour to read it, they will get a great deal of information. If they have a short attention span, they can read it in two or three spells. After all long University level textbooks are not designed to be read in one sitting. The textbook chapters are typically much longer than this article. For that matter, very few nonfiction books are designed to be read in one sitting. Rjensen (talk) 20:02, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I assume this is Rjensen's vote. Hoppyh (talk) 22:19, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I believe the article can be trimmed, but as Rjensen mentioned since Jefferson is a "complex person" I don't believe there should be a restricted amount of text set in stone for Jefferson...The best of both worlds is possible...trim the article but keep all relevant content even if the article goes beyond the suggested guidelines. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:34, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, the article has been trimmed substantially in the past couple of months but can be trimmed a bit more. The word numbers/bytes do not have to drive this. But it bears repeating for the benefit of the average reader (who is probably not doing graduate work), the Wikipedia platform we are devoted to here is an encyclopedia, and I don't believe it is appropriate to compare the readability of its articles to entire books as Rjensen and Gwillhickers have. The WP article length policy assumes and recommends the use of readily accessible links to sub articles, so readers wanting more detail can get it, while readers wanting less do not have to wade through the complexity in the main article. Hoppyh (talk) 20:59, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I will simply reference again that modern whole life tertiary RS like these [2] ,[3] should be able to help us both solve the seemingly interminable detail discussions and provide a fine encyclopedia article. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:55, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. I think this is Alan's vote. Hoppyh (talk) 22:19, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
---Point of interest, what is the word count of the Encyclopedia Britannica "Guide" article? I believe it will be found to be the same or more than ours presently.
The difficulty in comparing an article fairly representing Jefferson in 1/3 fewer words in Wikipedia than is given over to George Washington, is that Jefferson was not only on the public stage most of his life, but in addition, he was also a seminal thinker of political philosophy that was directly incorporated into the contested issues of his lifetime. That addition requires at least as much space --- even if much of it can be shunted into a daughter article, duly linked.
Agreed - I would not favor reducing Jefferson by a third of its current length, despite the WP quote I used. I do think that the WP quote makes it clear we are certainly above the level which is manageable for the average reader and we should be able to concede that we do not have the flexibility to further expand Jefferson. Limitless past exchanges have made it clear there has been no agreement on this, and no progress made on the article as a result. The most recent prevailing opinions seem to agree it's past time we start using daughter articles/links for additional material. Rjensen and Gwillhickers represent significant exceptions at this point.Hoppyh (talk) 14:42, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
I note that the EB article actually misstates that there was no tradition of "loyal opposition" by Jefferson's time, when in fact there was in the English Whig tradition in Parliament itself. Jefferson's innovation was to apply the concept of free speech to every citizen in a republic, so in that sense in Britain there was still no sense of loyal opposition for out of doors of Parliament itself. So I was too harsh with Alanscottwalker on the point previously, and I apologize. Other Americans at the time did not "get it" such as Federalists passing the Alien and Sedition Laws. But, on the other hand, opposition to the practical aspects of jailing newspaper publishers resulted in Jefferson's public vindication in the "Revolution of 1800". TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:54, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Or perhaps Joseph J. Ellis just put the emphasis differently than you. All of them of 1770's American fame, created a republic - a thing then in practice hardly known in the world. (modulo, . . . and then Jefferson urged prosecution of the Federalist press). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:11, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
  • User:Rjensen - Can you possibly be more explicit or engaged about a way out of the current dilemma? Or is your apparent sentiment of 'it should be a long as it should be' all you can do? Because how can that sentiment provide resolution among multiple minds in a principled and practical manner? The article and this talk page will just seemingly go on and on. Or perhaps we should just give up on good or featured because we will never reach reasonable consensus on this article that will live to pass through those processes (they often ask for cuts in long articles), and many or most of us just leave this article to shift continually this way or that - admitting we all tried but we will never - in the reasonably near future, have a common vision for this article. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:41, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Sorry @Rjensen: I don't think I pinged the right way, this should do it, I hope. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:53, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Well I will say I'm annoyed by the angry tone of this debate and don't want to waste my time quibbling. My strong opinion is that the suggested length criteria does not apply to this exceptional article. I suggest the great majority of readers only read the introduction to the article and that those who want more can choose the topics that happen to interest them. Those readers who are interested in all of Jefferson, will really want a longer article rather than a shorter one. Rjensen (talk) 21:42, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree the tone needs to be a little less aggressive and alot more cooperative trying to get Jefferson to GA status. Gwillhickers has yet to comment...The article can keep the above sections but reduced to a single paragraphs, while the main articles can be created. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:30, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Rjensen is on the money about the tone, which will prevent any upgrade of the article; with all due regard for Rj's object of a comprehensive article, that will prevent any upgrade as well I believe. For the tone to change, the focus needs to be redirected from what each editor wants to to what the average reader wants. We have the platform on which to make it happen.Hoppyh (talk) 00:26, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Agree with Rjensen. I think the average reader only uses the introduction, only wants the introduction, — with perhaps a quick link on the TOC for researched elaboration on what they came for, whether its the Presidency or Sally Hemings. This also argues for some of Gwillhickers context; it also argues for preserving the existing headings (unless the “Views” and “Interests” sections transfer into daughter articles) — and cutting down some material in each as it can be found.
Unless I am proven wrong, the Encyclopedia Britannica “Guide to American Presidents” article on Thomas Jefferson is about the same length as ours in word count, but ours has the advantage of TOC subheadings for ease of navigation, and illustration. WP is very much more accessible to the general reader than the linked EB article. EB has comparatively more links to original sources in Jefferson’s words. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:47, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Just to be clear, their navigable format (as opposed to printing format) is here, printing format of UVa source is here Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:40, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

"overwhelming" -- editbreak

  • Agree with @TheVirginiaHistorian and Rjensen: The article is not "overwhelming", which btw assumes that the comprehension of the "average" reader of history is at the 6th grade level. Again, most readers only read the lede and the various section(s) they are interested in. With a well structured TOC there will be no "overwhelming" issues and for those who decide to read the entire article, they will only become board or 'overwhelmed' if the article is not well written and comprehensive. The Jefferson biography is obviously an exceptional article whose level of coverage and content should not be based on a page length guideline, which, as I've pointed out several times, allows editors to use common sense and clearly acknowledges that there are indeed exceptions.
  • Agree with @Cmguy777:, that "I don't believe there should be a restricted amount of text set in stone for Jefferson...The best of both worlds is possible"
  • Regarding the removal of sections --Political and Religious Views and Interests and Activities. The Political and Religious Views section has several subsections, so the idea of removing (the content of this major section to a daughter article will definitely result in a complex and drawn out issue. Religion and Politics are cornerstone and general topics for Jefferson, whose coverage belongs here regardless of any daughter article. The Interests and activities section also contains some very important topics to the Jefferson biography, esp the Linguistics topic, which formed the basis to Jefferson's political philosophy. Again, let's not gut content/context for the sake of a guideline. Again, we should not ignore one guideline just to satisfy another.
  • @Coemgenus: re: Your misgiven accusation: " I'm concerned about some of Gwillhickers's innovations about the rules". All I have done is point out that page length is a guideline and that there are exceptions. What I have claimed is clearly written in English and is still posted above, so there is no excuse for such behavior. I say this because you have misrepresented not only my claims by my activities on numerous occasions. Please stop this. It causes resentment between editors and results in conversations like this. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:09, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
  • On retrospect, demanding at least ten votes is perhaps a bit much, and as Coemgenus mentions, " there will never be consensus to do anything". However, we should not make major decisions when there is only a marginal consensus. In such events there needs to be a fair compromise. After noting the voting process above, it seems quite scattered and incomplete. When we do take a vote it should be in a list form with any comments following in a subsection. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:31, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Clarification needed re "benevolent slaveholder"

In the Slavery section it says that Jefferson is considered to be a "benevolent slave owner". This is a sketchy claim that could mean any number of things. Jefferson and slavery is a controversial issue and should get a clarifying phrase in the biography that doesn't require the reader to search through other articles for simple clarification. Not long ago I tried adding ...who didn't over work his slaves and provided well for them, but this was deleted, so I have added the clarify tag. If we can clarify things in this article with a short phrase we should do so. Imo, there is no pressing reason why we should not. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:06, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

there is an good discussion of the issues at James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton (2013). Slavery And Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory. New Press. pp. 156–57. Note that James Horton is himself black is and a prominent historian of blacks America. Rjensen (talk) 22:11, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
The term "benevolent" can be extremely subjective. Most readers maybe apt to "judge" Jefferson by today's standards. Was Jefferson "benevolent" for his times? I would state: Historians debate whether Jefferson was a benevolent slaveholder. That gives room for the reader to decide. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:27, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the sources are all in agreement that he was, in historical context? Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 10:38, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Henry Wiencek (2012) Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves and (October 2012) The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson ; Paul Finkleman (April, 1994) Thomas Jefferson and Anti-slavery The Myth Goes On PDF; do not believe Jefferson was a benevolent slave owner. There is disgreement. Cmguy777 (talk) 17:30, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

When reliable sources disagree, the typical solution is to summarize their arguments for a position. The Smithsonian article contains a section criticizing previous views on the content slaves of Jefferson as examples of "misconceptions and sappy prose". Then discusses at length Jefferson's views of his slaves as investments and his development on an influential theory on their financial value. Jefferson is quoted as estimating "I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers."

Jefferson began trying to increase the birth rate of the slaves and abandoned any plans for their potential emancipation. As the article points out: "The date of Jefferson’s calculation aligns with the waning of his emancipationist fervor. Jefferson began to back away from antislavery just around the time he computed the silent profit of the “peculiar institution.” "

The article then addresses the fact of how Jefferson treated slaves aged 10 to 12: "A letter has recently come to light describing how Monticello’s young black boys, “the small ones,” age 10, 11 or 12, were whipped to get them to work in Jefferson’s nail factory, whose profits paid the mansion’s grocery bills. This passage about children being lashed had been suppressed—deliberately deleted from the published record in the 1953 edition of Jefferson’s Farm Book, containing 500 pages of plantation papers. That edition of the Farm Book still serves as a standard reference for research into the way Monticello worked."

Then the article addresses the hierarchy of slaves in Monticello and how slaves of different rank were given very different treatments: "The higher you stood in the hierarchy, the better clothes and food you got; you also lived literally on a higher plane, closer to the mountaintop. A small minority of slaves received pay, profit sharing or what Jefferson called “gratuities,” while the lowest workers received only the barest rations and clothing. Differences bred resentment, especially toward the elite household staff."

The article covers how the boys aged 10 to 16 worked at Jefferson's nail factory, and how their output affected their future work careers. Those deemed successful could receive further training as artisans and house slaves, the failures were demoted to field slaves. The article points out: "The work was tedious in the extreme. Confined for long hours in the hot, smoky workshop, the boys hammered out 5,000 to 10,000 nails a day, producing a gross income of $2,000 in 1796."

Then the article covers an incident in 1798, when one of Jefferson's foremen was reluctant to whip the slaves under his care and this caused a delay in the work schedule. They apparently had to call on another overseer to whip the slaves more and make them work on time.

Then the article discusses a matter of historical censorship and forgery. A historian by the name of Edwin Betts came across a section of Jefferson’s Farm Book covering the whipping of child slaves for truancy. "Betts decided that the image of children being beaten at Monticello had to be suppressed, omitting this document from his edition. He had an entirely different image in his head; the introduction to the book declared, “Jefferson came close to creating on his own plantations the ideal rural community.” Betts couldn’t do anything about the original letter, but no one would see it, tucked away in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The full text did not emerge in print until 2005."

Then the article reports on how Betts' censorship influenced the inaccurate work of other historians. The article names (with text samples) as examples Jack McLaughlin, Merrill Peterson, Joseph Ellis, and Dumas Malone. All inaccurate on the level of whipping involved in the daily operations of Monticello and all presenting a far too benevolent image of Jefferson himself. Some of these quotes seem laughably bad: "on rare occasions, and as a last resort, he [Jefferson] ordered overseers to use the lash."

I don't think I have to continue with the summary. Frankly, I find that the article sheds some light on the business practices of Jefferson and avoids demonizing or romanticising the slave-owner. Dimadick (talk) 21:27, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

  • @Cmguy777: Even though Weincek's book is entitled The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson, does he actually say that Jefferson was a cruel slave owner, or that he did not care for his slaves to the extent he did? In any case, the best thing to do is add a few definitive facts in terms of how and to what extent Jefferson provided for his slaves, and that he worked his slaves no more than the average freeman/farmer worked. There are plenty of reliable sources that support this. This is the best way to side-step the various and often highly subjective modern day conjecture and let the readers decide matters for themselves. We have a major section entitled Slavery. You would think we could squeeze in a sentence or two in this regard without any issues. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:57, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Insert: @Gwillhickers: Certainly Weincek is not calling Jefferson a benevolent slave owner. All I am saying is there is disagreement among historians i.e. Weincek and Finkleman are critical of Jefferson owning slaves. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:02, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Hoppyh: The idea of "too many details" has already been addressed. We are allowed to add 'some' details, esp where important context is concerned. Could you please discuss this before making any more reverts? i.e.What is the big deal with clarifying a point with a simple phrase here? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:11, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
The unsettled disagreement about the level of detail in the article has been established long ago and the use of a clarification tag assumes a non existent consensus to add more material to an article which a number of editors agree is already well beyond the length guidelines of WP. As these editors have indicated above, further detail/clarification should be in the linked daughter articles.Hoppyh (talk) 02:28, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree here. This article is already too long and it seems as though some editors just want to add length. The tag should be removed. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 11:56, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Gwillhickers has reinserted the tag - any correction to his edits he views as edit warring. If I remove it again he'll report me so I will leave it to you and others to revert if you agree. Hoppyh (talk) 14:27, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
@Hoppyh: There was no "correction" involved here, or with any of my edits. All you've done here in effect was to sling mud and say 'lookit' Gw's edit!' Is there a WP policy that says do not bear false witness against thy neighbor? Probably not, so we have to trust that editors will discuss matters honestly, and not respond at the gut level. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:26, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: - I was on your side on the West Point thing, and a few other items on this page. We just happen to disagree here, and repeating yourself isn't really going to change our mind. I think the tag is out of place, and your additional info isn't necessary, but I can live with it as it currently stands with the caveat that I think the section is already too long and needs to be cut down. So if the current sentence is something everyone can live with, then lets go with it. If not, I think we should revert to the previous sentence without the tag. Also, for the record, Hoppyh stating why he isn't reverting it himself on the article talk page doesn't constitute tag teaming and the page you linked also says something about false accusations. I realize that you've written quite a bit on the talk page, but I think you already understand Hoppyh's (and my, in this case) concern about too much detail/lengthiness -- as we're unlikely to agree on this, I think it's best we simply do our best to include only the most important details and keep it right around the maximum length according to the guideline. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 23:55, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Dimadick: Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to discuss the differences between some of the Jefferson historians out there. I think you know that discussion of such differences in terms of what and what not to add to the article will probably result in a long debate over Jefferson and slavery, which has occurred here several times before. In the past the way we have averted all of this was to simply add the facts and let readers decide matters of morality, right and wrong, for themselves. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:54, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Dimadick: Do you know where we can read Betts' letter? In any case, before the GA squad came through here and gutted much of the narrative there was good coverage about whippings and such. Below is one of the statements that was removed from the section, with no discussion, once again.
-- According to a former Monticello slave, slaves were seldom punished except for stealing or fighting or other extreme offenses, though there were some cases of excessive whippings at the hand of overseers.<Thomas Jefferson Foundation: Treatment> < Miller, 1994, p. 106> -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:16, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Children "whipped" for truancy: I'll have to searh again, but children weren't actually whipped but were 'switched' (with a stick) on the hindquarters or legs, a disciplinary measure used on children that is still used in China and other parts of the third world, albeit unfortunately. I hardly think children were actually whipped in the stereotypical fashion that some people here in modern times have been led to believe. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:32, 6 January 2016 (UTC).

A simple solution

It would seem we could avoid a lot of drawn out debate if we just regarded page length for what it is -- a guideline, and if we allowed various additions of context so long as it is well sourced, keeping in mind of course that there are limits to everything. Most importantly, some editors need to be more willing to compromise. Overall, we are only debating page length and the amount of details. Time and again I have seen details removed from sections in cases where there were only a few to begin with. The idea of "too many details" should only be an issue here if there are many dozens of them of them and when they are clearly tangential to the topic/section. Again, to sum up a topic adequately we need to include all the important details. The daughter articles are for in depth coverage where we can add more of the lesser details. Above all, context is important and needs to be embraced here regardless of daughter articles. As it is, to get a clear picture of Jefferson the person (ala his biography) a reader is presently required to break away to numerous other articles. Presently this biography begs the [clarification needed] and [why?] tags. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:52, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Presently, this article is far too long. I'm very interested in this subject area (this is literally the only article outside my primary area of contemporary Democratic Politics I take an interest in) but even I find this article laborious to read, imagine the average reader. This article suffers from far too many details included that should instead be summarized, shortened and details added to daughter articles. (And I agree -- the page length guideline should be treated as such, and if anything, it should be considered the maximum. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 01:54, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Again, most people only read the lede and the sections they are interested. If someone is easily put off by the various details, I wonder how they ever manage to read and finish a book. In any case, if the article is well written, people will actually want to read further. Ever read a book you just couldn't put down? Once again, guidelines are just that -- used with common sense per the exceptions to average (e.g.biographical) articles. It is not my intention to go way beyond guidelines, but if we are slightly over, this should not cause any of the readers to walk away board or frustrated. They can 'put the book down' any time they want. Better to clarify things with some (important) context than to leave (esp the intelligent and inquiring) reader wondering due to lack of it. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:20, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Repeating yourself isn't going to change anyone's mind, dude. You've said the same thing over and over and I, for one, disagree. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 23:44, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
As previously noted, I think it is inappropriate to compare WP's encyclopedic article size guideline to books. I therefore disagree with the use of the above mentioned use of tags which encourage the addition of more material to the article when it should be included in the daughter article. Hoppyh (talk) 00:32, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Hoppyh: My analogy to 'books' was made only in reference to a reader becoming "overwhelmed". Imo, there should be no worry if our exceptional and very involved article here slightly exceeds a page length guideline, so long as the content is not tangential or exceedingly redundant. We are only debating the inclusion of small additions of context -- not major additions of text. Nor is anyone trying to add fuzzy and questionable statements not supported by RS's. That's all. Don't quite understand why this is being contested so vehemently, or as if someone was trying to rewrite history. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:04, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

West point compromise

Holiday is over -- back to the grind. I remain amazed that there is only one sentence covering West Point in what is supposed to become a Good Article, while simple points of context (i.e.British subject) are argued at length as if someone was trying to introduce some radical proposal. Editors here need to lighten up. TVH has done a wonderful job with his proposals, cross referencing Jefferson's military Academy with his political philosophy and such. We should cover West Point with just a bit more context, tying it in with Jefferson's thinking regarding Republicanism, any partisanship, along with his founding of the University of Virginia, where many of his ideas for West Point were incorporated -- including military exercises throughout the entire course for all grades of students. This can easily be accomplished with a few added sentences -- yet there is this monumental disagreement. No one is proposing a half page of coverage -- however, one sentence for West Point is clearly ignoring the scholarship out there (BTW, the scholarship includes more than just biographies.) In any case, this article will never reach GA if various editors continue to behave in such a unyielding and arrogant manner. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:34, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Part of this discussion seems to be about the frontier in Jefferson’s presidency and beyond, and excluding West Pointers from it without references. The American historical narrative is not only advanced by independent civilian yeoman farmers seeking a utopian familial bucolic existence living in a blissful coexistence on the margins of Native American hunting grounds.
The frontiers were also populated by aggressive republican nationalists who sought expanded settlement population and incorporation within the US as states at the expense of Amerindians who independently resisted settlement --- but especially against those who had militarily allied with the British in the Revolution and then again in the War of 1812.
Proposal excerpt: From 1802-1833, West Point alumni in uniform and as civilian leaders furnished nationalist administrative and executive leadership in the frontier territories.<Watson, Samuel J. in McDonald, Robert ed. 2004 p.155> TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure there can be a West Point compromise if editors can't continue the discussion. I am not sure why Jefferson's West Point or Military Peace Establishment Act is so controversial even to mention in the article and I do not know yet why West Point was deleted from the article. With that said. Maybe it is time to take a break from West Point. I would hope all editors should be included in good faith discussions. I don't believe West Point has been pushed to an extreme nor Jefferson's involvement in West Point creation has been exagerated. Be that as it may feelings seem to have been hurt. I would hope editors could have a rational discussion and there certainly is no need to have an edit war over Jefferson's West Point or Military Peace Establishment Act. I suggest taking a break if possible from the issue until we can resolve to have a rational discussion. Cmguy777 (talk) 03:30, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
It is not controversial, it is trivial. TFD (talk) 20:10, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I disagree that Jefferson Military Peace Establishment Act and the establishment of the United States Military Academy at West Point is trivial, especially since many West Point graduates served in the Mexican American War and the American Civil War. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:42, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

You think that is more important than say writing the Declaration of Independence or becoming president? TFD (talk) 21:04, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Your dispute is quite understandable and it is symptomatic of others which have dominated the less than constructive work we are getting done on the article. You can have your cake and eat it too - in the spirit of the exchange below about the article perhaps being overwhelming. Join us—we need to find a way to work together on this article. Help us find it - for the benefit of the average reader. Hoppyh (talk) 21:17, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't understand TFD. Jefferson was the primary author of the DOI and yes while President he passed the Military Peace Establishment Act that created West Point and reformed the military. I can't compare the DOI and West Point. All I said was the Military Peace Establishment Act and the creation of West Point was not trivia. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:41, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
The point is that Jefferson did many, many, many, many important things. Those many important things can be ranked according to significance and the length of the article will determine the cut-off for inclusion. For example if we had to summarize Jefferson in one sentence, we probably would mention he was president and signer of the Declaration of Independence and probably not mention he distilled rye whiskey. It's a matter of prioritizing what is most important. TFD (talk) 02:09, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

1 RR

  • Above I agreed with Hoppyh not to make additions of content without discussion and voting, yet various additions and revisions are being made with no discussion along with reverts with no discussion, so I am abandoning this double standard, which I did not agree to. If this sort of activity continues we should request a One-revert rule which will help to make some editors make reverts only when it is absolutely necessary. These peckish slow-mo edit wars really need to stop and the spirit of compromise better embraced so we can start making real progress with the article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 01:38, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Hoppyh and Dcpoliticaljunkie: -- Let's also be reminded that if an editor summons another editor to make the same revert so as to avert violation of the 3RR it involves Tag teaming: ...editors may be accused of coordinating their actions to sidestep policies and guidelines (such as 3RR and NPOV). It also involves gaming the system. If there is a good reason to make a revert then it should be discussed, and if indeed there is a good reason then there will likely be a consensus in favor of the revert. Since my appeals here have typically been ignored it would appear that there is no valid and pressing reason for the revert. If the same revert occurs again, with no discussion, there will be no other alternative but to report the 3RR violation, at which time I will also request a 1 RR. I have made numerous attempts to discuss matters fairly. If policy and good reason are on the side of the reverting editor(s) one would think they would welcome discussion. All I've seen here are attempts to dodge discussion. Please discuss this so we can establish a legitimate consensus. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:53, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
I have not intended to enter into any collusion here, only to encourage people to edit according to their previously expressed views that the article should not have a tag which suggests adding more material to an article which some editors think is too long. This issue has been discussed ad infinitum. I will certainly not suggest anyone repeat any revert of mine again. There is no lack of discussion on this issue but there is lack of agreement and this will continue I am sure, I am sorry to say.Hoppyh (talk) 00:56, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Hoppyh: I think the answer to all our concerns is compromise. Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision-making, and is marked by addressing legitimate concerns held by editors through a process of compromise while following Wikipedia policies. . When there is a marginal consensus there should be a reasonable compromise. Before the GA nomination there were a few sentences covering Jefferson's treatment and regard for slaves -- very important in terms of Jefferson the person. Now all we have is the sketchy claim that Jefferson was "considered a benevolent slave owner", with not one detail of context. Not one! If it were up to me I would restore the text covering Jefferson's treatment of slaves. I thought a fair compromise however would be to at least make the general statement that Jefferson didn't overwork his slaves and provided well for them -- nothing more. "Details" should not be used to describe general and definitive statements. "Details" pertain to things like, Slaves were allowed to raise their own chickens and have gardens. or Slaves were provided with log-cabins with fireplaces or Slaves were given Sundays and Christmas off, etc. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:31, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Regrettably, I am no help on this...I just do not see the importance of any detail about this in the main article. Hoppyh (talk) 20:05, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, imo, Jefferson's treatment of and regard for his slaves reflects on his person more so than most (if not all) other topics. Thought it would do the biography justice if we could at least hint at his actual efforts with a general phrase. -- Gwillhickers (talk)
  • @Dcpoliticaljunkie: Thanks for your explanation and not making another revert. Just for the record, if this all came to a 3RR violation hearing I would not request a block, but only that a warning be given. I think it would be sort of cruel to block someone who has given much of their time and effort to the article because he/she reverted my particular edit. However, I am concerned with the rigid and unyielding stance some editors have taken, esp where West Point and Slavery (treatment) is concerned. One editor, (very) knowledgeable in Jefferson history took the time to author several(!) well written and comprehensive proposals for West Point, well covered by a number of RS's -- and all we have now is one single sentence of coverage. It truly pains me to see such heart felt effort brushed aside with the apparent flip response of "too many details", or that West Point is a 'blip on the radar screen'. I would be happy, and even willing to bow out and let feelings cool off, if we could only add just a (small) bit more context for these two topics. I am going to remove the clarify tag as a gesture of good faith. I am hoping that after tempers level off that there will be a reconsideration here and that 'someone' will add a couple of points of context so we can move on. If not, oh well. Life goes on. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:03, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
It wouldn't qualify under 3RR anyway because it isn't. :) Lol. I'm not necessarily against more clarity (I think I mentioned above that I didn't mind the edit you tried yesterday, but you reverted back to the tag), but anything more than a few more words and its undoing a lot of work done to bring the article to a manageable length. I oppose the tag because I think it appears to imply a consensus for significantly more content/length to be added to the section. I don't think such a consensus exists. Also -- for the record, I think I supported more on West Point and its inclusion in the lede. Lol Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 21:58, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Dcpoliticaljunkie: Yes, I know you were/are supportive of better coverage of West Point. In fact, we should tally up consensus on the matter for better coverage of this important and unprecedented advent. Also, just so you know, if a fourth revert had occurred I wouldn't need any luck, esp since a request was specifically made to make the revert to avoid being reported. In any case, that's behind us and we seem to have risen above this and hopefully the spirit of compromise will override any lesser emotions on the matter. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:48, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Okay, this is strange. The slavery section still appears to have the [clarification needed] tag, at least from my end. Yet when I went to remove it, it does not appear in the mark-up. I tried reloading the page several times, and every time the 'clarification needed' is still in the article text. Any ideas? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Well, this is even stranger. Several minutes later I checked the markup again, and behold, the tag was there -- so I removed it. Ghost in the machine? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:29, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Indian removal

Ellis (2008) discusses Indian removal in terms of Jeffersons Louisiana Purchase, but this has been edited out or censured by Dcpoliticaljunkie. Slavery did remain intact...Jefferson only gave a one year moretorium on allowing slaves to be brought into the territory. Cmguy777 (talk) 00:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

As we've discussed above, this article should only skim/summarize the main issues/themes. There are daughter articles— Thomas Jefferson and Indian removal, Thomas Jefferson and slavery, and Louisiana Purchase—where this information absolutely belongs, that are linked from this article. I'm not sure that this article needs a detailed explanation about a secondary result of the Purchase -- just a summary. Frankly, slavery/Indian removal I don't think were even major issues around the Purchase from a Jeffersonian perspective.
To ignore or censor slavery and Indian removal is POV. Jefferson is treated as 20th-21st century President rather then a 19th Century President. Why is it that anything critical of Jefferson is convienently deleted on the pretext of "summary"? Slavery led to the American Civil War and there were 100s of Indian Wars in the 1860's. I dont know who left that last comment. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:26, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
There's an entire section dedicated to both of those topics as well as daughter articles. I've cut some stuff about that, but I've also cut plenty of positive/neutral material as well. The article before had many redundancies, and in some ways, could be viewed as a white-washed polemic on those two topics. They're relatively minor parts of Jefferson's presidency (from a historical perspective/compared to other presidents), and I think they're well covered in the dedicated sections without repetition throughout the rest of the already-lengthy article. I don't think that's censoring. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 21:51, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

"Slavery did remain intact" in the Louisiana Purchase and in Illinois and in what would later be Missouri for the previous French settlers with slaves --- whom Jefferson would not arbitrarily strip of their property before the law. He was anxious to a) make loyal US citizens of the French, b) incorporate their settlement as our own, c) not give grounds for French government protest. This is not the same thing as promoting slavery as an institution in the republic on principle or as secretive deviousness, which is the out-of-context implication.

Jefferson sought Native American farming and integration, peace along frontiers, purchase of lands for settlement, and removal of military of allies of the British who abrogated their treaties with the US during the Revolution and War of 1812. Those treaties cannot anachronistically said to be in force after tribes make war in violation of them in some sort of race-based double standard for modern analysis. "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." may be an operating international principle in the law of nations or it may only be a dictum of practical politicians. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:24, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

TheVirginiaHistorian: are you saying Ellis (2008) is not a reliable source ? From your comments I take that you believed Jefferson thought of slaves African Americans as "property" rather then people. Jefferson allowed slaves to enter the LT after a one year moretorium and he remained silent on the issue of domestic American slavery. The spread of slavery throughout the south led to the American Civil War. This is the 21st Century and if historians like Ellis (2008) discuss Indian removal then that would be pertinent for the TJ article. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:35, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

There was slavery in the Louisiana Territory previous to Jefferson’s administration among French settlers there in New Orleans, St. Louis and surrounding areas; he did not provide for their removal. Jefferson did not have the votes to restrict additional domestic slave importation in the Louisiana Purchase beyond one year. Does Ellis dispute that; where were the votes to come from? Slaves were held as property in United States law, whereas there is evidence that Jefferson saw those held as slaves to be people with fundamental rights to self government, hence the popularity of American Colonization Society among Jefferson’s contemporaries in Virginia leadership. While I am for trimming several article sections, I am for expansion of the coverage devoted to Jefferson’s presidential reform of the executive branch to conform with election results from the people in a republic, and I am for expanding coverage of Indian removal especially British military allies in context.

I view Ellis (2008) is a reliable source for modern perspective. Does Ellis omit that the majority of Native Americans east of the Mississippi were British military allies in the Revolution? Does he fail to distinguish among US allies and its enemies in war without distinction on this point? Does he omit continuing British armament of its military allies after the Revolution and continuing occupation of British forts on US soil supplying them? Does he omit US opposition to that policy?

As late as negotiations for the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, British diplomacy had held out the promise of an independent Native American nation from the Great Lakes south to the Ohio River as a buffer state between the US and Canada. Does Ellis not take US opposition to that policy into account? The Treaty of Paris had nominally ceded British claims to the Northwest Territory west to the Mississippi River based on the military defeats of British and Native-American allies in the West by Virginian and French settler allies. Where does Ellis dispute this? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk)

The three of us, among others, discussed many of these things before: (1, 2, 3, etc). Jefferson was reluctant to abolish slavery in the newly acquired territory for a number of reasons, foremost among them was the idea that France still had large slave holding interests in the territory and that if Napoleon/France thought Jefferson was going to abolish slavery the Purchase never would have occurred. This was well covered in the article before the GA nomination. Some of the content in the 5th paragraph there should be restored to the current section, which only gives the reader token coverage. We should give the readers all the important and definitive details so they don't have to repeatedly break away from the biography and sift through other articles to get this basic information. Jefferson's primary reasoning for not abolishing slavery in the territory is not some minor detail that only belongs in a daughter article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:38, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Since Jefferson was silent on domestic slavery then we can only guess his intentions concerning the LT. But someone of Jefferson's prestige could have influenced Congress to ban slave imporation beyond a year. Jefferson was a very popular President, especially during his first term when the LT was purchased. I still contend that editing out Ellis (2008) and slavery and Indian removal is ignoring the issue in the article concerning the LT. Maybe another source besides Ellis (2008) can be found ? Cmguy777 (talk) 01:42, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Didn't we discuss this at length several times before? Jefferson was silent on slavery during his terms as President because the issue was becoming very heated and controversial and driving a dangerous wedge between members of the House and elsewhere. Meanwhile Britain, as usual, was waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces, ala the War of 1812 which followed almost immediately after Jefferson's final term. Jefferson was obviously a man of deep convictions. It would be a reaching assumption to claim that he just up and had this change of heart at that late date in his life. (Note, editors need to scan archives more often before repeating the same debates all over again.) -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:32, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Noting removal of tribes that violated peace treaties with the US by making war as allies of Great Britain subsequent to the US winning the war, is an important circumstance of Jefferson’s administration; another source besides Ellis should be found if he is silent on the context of the removal.

Here’s what Jefferson’s party said by treaty in the administration following, --- it is the first instance of a UK-US military alliance I can find: “Whereas the traffic in slaves is irreconcilable with the principles of humanity and justice, and whereas both his Majesty and the United States are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition, it is hereby agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavors to accomplish so desirable an object." — Article the Tenth, Treaty of Ghent, 1814. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:16, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

American lawyer?

In the lede it says that Jefferson was an "American lawyer", which seems a bit misleading because during this time (1767+) there was no 'America' in terms of the country that exists today. Wouldn't it be more adequate to simply say that he practiced law, or that he was a Colonial lawyer? Today the term America is generally understood to mean the United States which didn't officially exist until after independence. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:53, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

The British, including the colonists, used the term "America." Note that modern Canada has a "1st American Regiment". TFD (talk) 20:34, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Reaching, argumentative. Seems we still need to make the clarification. I doubt the average reader knows about this Canadian regiment, and even if they did, this doesn't really provide us with a valid reason not to be clear on this point. As I recall, several editors here, including yourself, TVH and myself debated whether we should use the term 'America' to refer to the U.S.A., which you were in opposition to -- a debate that resulted in a consensus for using this term. Are you saying that we shouldn't use terms like American Civil War or the American Revolution? It is generally understood that 'America' or 'American' refers to the United States, per the first sentence in the United States article. As such, using the term American lawyer could mislead many of the readers. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:41, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Of course readers are unfamiliar with the 1st Canadian Regiment, which is why I mentioned it. The point is that people living in the 13 colonies were called "Americans." The 1st American Regiment for example was originally formed during the French and Indian Wars. The Tea Act refers to any "British American colony." Dr. Johnson in Taxation no Tyranny (1775), refers to people living in what is now the U.S. as "Americans."[4] In 1776 13 of the American states united to form the "United States of America." It does not mean they were not American before 1776, just that they were neither united nor independent. TFD (talk) 21:36, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Your first sentence is not very clear. You add this to the discussion 'because' readers are not familiar?? This is all besides the point of being clear that Jefferson was not an "American lawyer". -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:41, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

It would be pretty boring if people only told you things you already knew. But rather than descend into a morass of irrelevant argumentation, let's get back to the issue. People living in the American colonies were called Americans, both by people in the UK and in the colonies. Contemporary writers still refer to them as Americans. The fact that the American states only united in the late 18th century to form a nation called the "United States of America" is irrelevant. Now if they had called the new nation "Columbia" or something new, it might be different. TFD (talk) 22:55, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Jefferson was a British subject Virginia colony lawyer of British America up to July 4, 1776. From July 4, 1776 to March 1, 1781 Jefferson was a Virginia state lawyer and U.S. citizen. From March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1788 Jefferson was a Virginia state lawyer and U.S. citizen under the Articles of Confederation. After June 21, 1788 Jefferson was a Virginia state lawyer and U.S. citizen under the U.S. Constitution. Cmguy777 (talk) 07:48, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

None of which means he was not an American before 1776. Incidentally, is there any reason why you use extremely wide

indentations? TFD (talk) 15:48, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
True...The term "America" was used in the first Virginia Charter in 1606, so in that sense Jefferson was a British American, then on July 4, 1776 Jefferson became a United States American due to the DOI. But Gwillhickers has a point as far as the reader is concerned. Calling Jefferson an "American lawyer" may mislead the reader to believe that Jefferson was born a U.S. Citizen. Are there specific rules concerning outdenting ? Cmguy777 (talk) 16:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
See "Indentation": "The first comment in a section will have no colons (or one asterisk - see below) before it. When you reply to a statement, you should use one more colon (or asterisk) than the number that appear in the statement you're replying to." I do not think that readers will be confused about nationality laws. India, Canada and Australia did not have nationality laws until 1947, yet we still refer to people living in those countries as Indians, Canadians and Australians, not British subjects living in those countries. The King's Royal Rifle Corps, was founded in 1756 as the Royal American Regiment. TFD (talk) 18:17, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Both @The Four Deuces and Cmguy777: make some good points here, as I believe I have, per the average reader. How about if we just said 'Colonial American lawyer' or 'practiced law'? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:19, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
It is not a big deal. However Jefferson was both a colonial and a post-colonial lawyer. Certainly he was not an English barrister, because that requires residence in an Inn. Did the U.S. have separate barrister and solicitor professions, was qualification for solicitors required, were lawyers able to practice in other colonies, did Jefferson? I really do not see any reason to research these issues when we can just say he was an American lawyer. TFD (talk) 19:41, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Colonial American lawyer is the more accurate term, reminding/informing the reader that Jefferson was a lawyer during colonial times, in America. Is this not both more accurate and a fair compromise? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
That implies he ceased to be a lawyer after colonial times. TFD (talk) 20:08, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Jefferson was a delegate in 1776 and soon after a governor and did not practice law after independence. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:11, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

If Jefferson did not practice law after July 4, 1776, then putting in "colonial American lawyer" is appropriate. Is there anyway to substantiate he did not practice law after July 4, 1776? Cmguy777 (talk) 21:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Source: Thomas Jefferson and the Practice of Law Cmguy777 (talk) 22:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Jefferson retired his law practice in 1774 turning his practice over to Edmund Randolph. Cmguy777 (talk) 22:33, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I added "colonial" to the lede section. I believe this appropriate since Jefferson did not practice law after 1774 and he entered the bar when Virgina was still a British colony in 1766. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:01, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
we do not say someone ceases to be a lawyer when they sell their practice, but when they cease to be qualified. Would we say that Obama and both Clintons are not lawyers? Jefferson worked in a committee of the Virginia legislature to reform laws after the U.S. declared independence, and of course later presided over the upper house of the U.S. legislature (a body that writes laws). And apparently English barristers were allowed to practice in Virginia.[5] TFD (talk) 00:20, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

What do you guys think of omitting lawyer from the first line of the lede? [6] It's mentioned at the end of the paragraph so it's redundant and, frankly, I don't think lawyer is the most important thing Jefferson is known for so it shouldn't be the first line anyway...

I agree: drop lawyer. it's not in the top list of his roles. ("lawmaker" is not the same as "lawyer." eg "John McCain is a lawmaker.") Rjensen (talk) 08:20, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Agree with DCpoliticaljunkie and Rjensen, we can omit lawyer from the first line of the lede.
Aside @The Four Deuces: Is Clinton reinstated in Arkansas from his disbarment, or has he passed the New York bar in the state wherein he resides? Is he a some-time lawyer? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:38, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Bill Clinton's licence to practice law in Arkansas was suspended for 5 years and he resigned from the Supreme Court of the U.S. bar. Incidentally articles in England refer to people practicing law in the U.S. as lawyers even though they are not qualified to practice law in England. TFD (talk) 17:16, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Lawyer infers that Jefferson practiced law at the bar...but he retired in 1774 and his legal career was only 8 years starting in 1766...Jefferson never tried a case after 1774...and he never was appointed Attorney General...The edit looks good... Cmguy777 (talk) 01:09, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I do not think it does. For example, the U.S. Congress defines a lawyer as someone who holds a law degree and lists 162 members as lawyers.[7] So to them having sufficient education to practice law is sufficient. Of course they could be wrong, they have made mistakes in the past, but that seems to be what most readers mean by lawyer. Maybe what you mean is "employed as a lawyer." TFD (talk) 01:55, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
There's no doubt that Jefferson was a lawyer. The issue is listing it as a major role, when he abandoned the practice when he entered the public arena. Rjensen (talk) 01:58, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes as Cm' mentions, Jefferson never tried a case after 1774. Also, Dc's edit seems the most appropriate -- esp since mention of 'lawyer' came before 'Founding Father', which is a somewhat all encompassing term that would include all Jefferson's activities before independence. Also, before independence, the laws were that of the British crown -- after independence Jefferson and other delegates were busy drafting the new American laws. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:08, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Rjensen mentions Jefferson abandoned the practice. But he never tried a case after 1774...That makes him a practing colonial British subject lawyer. Dc's edit does not emphasis being a lawyer, although he did try about 7 freedom cases while he practiced, his other cases were apparently for wealthy clients. If the article does not state so now I suggest putting in the article that Jefferson abandoned his law practice in 1774 seeking the public arena or office. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:30, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

@Cmguy777: I have no strong feelings either way for mentioning 'abandonment', as Jefferson's later involvements after he was governor supercedes this. Imo, it goes without saying that he did not practice law later on while a delegate, governor, S.O.S, V.P. and President. I will say however it wouldn't hurt to mention it and I'm sure a fair number of readers would welcome the extra clarity. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:33, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I added more information on Jefferson and his lawyer career. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:22, 13 January 2016 (UTC)


I just discovered this guideline, Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia, which I didn't know existed. It's pertinent when daughter ("child") articles are created or enlarged from this one. YoPienso (talk) 19:14, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Also, WP:SPLIT. Here we see, by size, 60kB “Probably should be divided (although the scope of a topic can sometimes justify the added reading time).” Using this guideline the article is 15% over at 69kB. That seems to me to be primarily an exercise in copyediting. I have suggested several sections which seem visually long under Presidency sections.
Under Content split: “Consideration must be given both to notability and to potential neutrality issues as discussed at the linked WP:Content forking#Point of view (POV) forks. “The generally accepted policy it that all facts and major points of view on a certain subject should be treated in one article.” Even with the proposed split, there should be an abbreviated section on Jefferson’s thought on political and religious views.
Care must be taken to maintain balance. Removing all reference to Jefferson’s thought promoting democracy for all humanity, equitable American society and good governance while emphasizing criticisms of such things as Indian removal out of context, slavery practice out of context, and personal indebtedness out of context -- would make the proposed article split a POV fork. Jefferson was prominent as an idealist as well as a practicing Virginian politician of his time. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:56, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Those guidelines were written for the benefit of articles on videogame characters. The guideline clearly states that there will be exceptions, and dealing with one of the most exceptional figures in world history seems a good place to use our own judgment. Rjensen (talk) 07:38, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Thank you. It would seem anyone eager to write a comprehensive and well written article would welcome this idea. Funny, and sort of disappointing, that a few editors have habitually scoffed at the idea. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:15, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • To remove all reference to Jefferson’s thought while only emphasizing criticisms would be POV pushing. This is the Jefferson biography and mentioning Jefferson's thinking must be included to give perspective to any criticisms, which too often are little more than conjecture that ignores many of the facts. This is why I have always emphasized including all the important facts so we can let readers make their own decisions where morality, right and wrong are concerned. Any significant discrepancies among historians has always been dealt with by simply mentioning it. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:22, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
This discussion should not be happening again. Our collective judgement is to trim the article (somewhere in the neighborhood of the guidelines even if not exact or under). We already know that some disagreed with that but they are in the minority (I would suggest they are so, because all they say is 'longer, longer'). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:52, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

This is yet another misrepresentation, as several editors, very knowledgeable of Jefferson, and major contributors btw, feel we should have the discretion, per guidelines, to write a comprehensive article and include various hitherto missing and general facts. Since there is a marginal consensus, what would your suggestions for a fair compromise be? Remember, there was a standing consensus to include many of the things that were removed, often without discussion, so perhaps we should summon all involved editors and get a more accurate account on the matter, that is, if you can't present us with any pressing reasons not to. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Overlong and poor

I am leaving this article again. I am convinced that this article will never improve in the forseeable future and rather, it will be both over-long and at the same time it will not actually offer the nuanced complexity required - eg., it will not show the contradictions of the man, that scholarship shows. (The pre-good-article-drive article was criticized as by the reviewer for such things and it appears it will be so again). -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:32, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Article is not overlong considering the subject, which guidelines allows, as has been brought to the attention of editors here numerous times. The only reason the article may not achieve GA status will be failure to make reasonable compromises with fellow editors, followed by peckish reverts over small additions of context. Also, the "contradictions" are mentioned in so many words. Jefferson owned slaves but promoted liberty for all. This was covered in the text, and if need be, will be better covered. Thanks for your support and good wishes. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:21, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I have a serious, not flip or sarcastic, suggestion: Why not give Gwillhickers free rein and when he feels it's ready for a GA review let him submit it? If it passes, Yay! If it doesn't, he agrees to turn the reins over to others temporarily and see if they can get it to GA status. Efforts to collaborate fail again and again, so maybe crowd-sourcing won't work on such a difficult article. YoPienso (talk) 01:44, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Insert -- I have a better suggestion. Why not practice a little compromise and allow editors to add well sourced points of context? That would solve almost all problems. Your "not flip" suggestion comes off as a veiled attempt to lay all the blame for all problems, imaginary or real, at my doorstep, when in reality, several editors have had great difficulty getting a word of context in edgewise around here and have had to put up with unnecessary reverts, again, when only small points of context were added. Do you actually think all editors around here are going to let me have "free rein" of the editorship here? Let's get real. Just for the record, I have never edited against established consensus and have frequently preceded any proposals with discussion. Yopienso, all you're accomplishing with this sort of talk is aggravating matters and widening the gap of fellowship. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:41, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
"Nuanced complexity of the man" should not be a rehearsal of Jefferson’s contemporary critics so as to overwhelm article balance and historical context. There is nothing of “modern scholarship” in that, only imbalanced partisan mud slinging. On balance, Jefferson was a good man of his time with an idealistic vision which has been largely adopted in the contemporary United States.
Straining to avoid hagiography, some modern scholars have resorted to adopting the footnotes of “contradictions”, such as the purchase of the Louisiana Purchase. Here is an instance of nationalistically providing for peace by purchase, removing a European power entirely from the North American continent. It provided for family farm expansion to permanently reduce the influence of Federalist New England as his opponents feared. Nit picking footnotes of abstract "contradictions" unrelated to the historical context are irrelevant. The Louisiana Purchase did not advance slavery as is anachronistically implied by artifice of specious contradiction, rather it and other western states were admitted as free soil, breaking the slave-based sectional balance in the Senate and contributing to free-soil majorities in the House: Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota, Oregon and Kansas -- as opposed to Missouri and Arkansas by the onset of the Civil War.
To now promote the artifice of “complexity” as an excuse to denigrate Jefferson’s character, thoughtfulness or vision without nuanced historical context is unbalanced for an article intended for the general reader. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:47, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Slavery did spread in the Louisiana Territory and the Pelican flag was at the Battle of Shiloh during the Civil War. Eastern slaves were transported into the territory. Jefferson could have proposed a longer moretorium or ban on slavery in Louisiana just as he did in 1784 slavery ban in the Western Territories, but he was silent. Congress was argueing over extending slavery in Louisiana while Jefferson was President. The compromise was a one year moretorium on slavery. Stating facts does not denigrate Jefferson's character. Historians have a right to their opinions. Since Jefferson occupied the White House as an elected official I believe it is appropriate to have some critical assessment of Jefferson as President. The Louisana Purchase was a great achievement as well as the Louis in Clark expedition into the West. Politics is not always simple and can be considered complex. Editors need to stop arguing in order for Jefferson to get to GA and FA. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:14, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777 and TheVirginiaHistorian: -- Yes, Slavery did "spread", but the amount of slaves in the U.S. didn't increase 'because' of this advent. It would appear that TVH was not arguing this, but only alluding to how Jefferson's apparent contradictions, or complexities, should be covered with neutrality and balance. Considering this article's negative POV history it would seem warranted. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:03, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

POV (+ -)

Negative POV can be subjective. Slaves did increase to over a million by natural reproduction and were moved to the Louisiana Territory. Jefferson signifigantly decreased the slave importation by banning the international slave trade although there was some smuggling in Louisiana. Noting Jefferson did this without a Civil War. Stating facts is not POV and as far as I know there are no negative judgemental comments concerning Jefferson in the article. That would be POV. But I do not believe the discussion of slavery and/or Indian removal and the Louisiana Territory should be censured from the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:38, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

@Cmguy777: Yes, I am for including all the significant facts. Bear in mind however that natural reproduction occurred by itself and wasn't something that depended on the new territory. Jefferson authorized the acquisition of the new territory for nationalistic reasons that were far more more pressing than allowing slavery to "spread", waiting a year before he allowed slaves to be moved there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:39, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Congress debated the spread of slavery after the aquisition of the LT. The aquisition, spread of slavery and Indian removal are three seperate issues. The aquisition is mentioned but the spread of slavery and Indian removal have been excluded. That is censureship. The discussion of these issues in the article does not undermine in anyway Jefferson's reputation. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:36, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Nobody is worried about Jefferson's reputation or trying to censor anything in this article. It's simply a matter of needing to trim the article, and as it so happens, there are sections devoted to slavery and Indian removal -- along with full-length articles on those topics. We obviously must include the Louisiana Purchase but I don't think we need to include a lot of detail about its affects on any number of sociological topics, particularly those that have entire sections and articles devoted to them already. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dcpoliticaljunkie (talkcontribs) 02:46, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Why is slavery and Indian removal not pertinent to the article? Because that could be a critical assessement of Jefferson. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:21, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

West Point

While there was a marginal consensus not to mention West Point in the lede I don't recall any consensus to cover this topic with only one sentence. We should really say something more here, esp since the topic ties in with Jefferson's political philosophy, his ideas for national defense and the Univ of Virginia, which was largely modeled after West Point. These general and definitive ideas could be covered inside one or two more sentences. Yes? No? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:38, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:38, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

No -- unless it is a part of a paragraph on executive branch reform. see comments. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:54, 12 January 2016 (UTC)


More should be said as the existing coverage is not par with the scholarship, which includes more than biographies. It would seem that the existing coverage is hardly a compromise. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:41, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

I thought the consensus was against expanding narrative on West Point as an academy comparable to UVA, as several editors believed they voted repeatedly on the same topic, even when there were distinctions made in various drafts in the introduction and in the First Presidency section. My sourced expanded narrative on the USMA for the First Presidency section did not achieve consensus even though it was not for the introduction. Confusions included digressions into comparative scope of USMA curricula beyond that of engineering with UVA -- again, the USMA as an academy. The opposition was clear, even though it was indiscriminate.
I then made an additional suggestion for an alternative narrative paragraph explicating Jefferson's reform of the executive branch. That suggestion has not been taken up for discussion, editors conflated it with the discussion of the USMA as an academy. But Jefferson sought to make his administration conform with the expressed will of the people and the new majorities of Congress after a change in party majorities.
The paragraph would focus on the changes in Treasury, Attorney General, and particularly War departments, such as replacing 46% of incumbent office holders in 1801, mostly Federalists, though not all. And my alternative on executive reform suggested including the Congressional appointment of USMA cadets by elected Members of Congress across the nation rather than by Cincinnati heredity placement or academic merit alone --- in order to conform the officer corps with civilian rule. This was a repeated concern of Jefferson and contemporaries whose early solution before actual nationhood was opposition to a standing army of any description for an ideal republic of freemen with state militias. But that was before the territories were divorced from the conflicting state claims during the Articles period... TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:54, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
@TheVirginiaHistorian: -- From what is posted above (1, 2) Cm', Rjensen, Dc' you and I, five editors, expressed a desire for better coverage of West Point. There was no identifiable consensus for or against this in a clear list form, which is what I hope to accomplish here. Granted your proposals were more lengthy than some editors could cope with but it was my hope that we could add context to the single existing sentence covering W.P. regarding Jefferson's ideas for national defense while mentioning Jefferson's hopes to replace Federalist military elitists. There is no mention of "national defense", his designs against Federalist elitists or Jefferson's hope for "the advancement of science and his desire for a national university', per McDonald. Below, is the existing sentence of coverage, followed by a revision which includes a couple of important points of context.
  • Existing sentence -- Desiring a national officer engineering corps and promoting republican values and officers, Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802, thus founding the United States Military Academy at West Point. <Scythes 2014>
  • Proposed revision -- Jefferson strongly felt the need for a national military university, producing a national officer engineering corps for a national defense based on the advancement of the sciences. He signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802, thus founding the United States Military Academy at West Point, hoping to bring reform to the Executive branch, replacing Federalist military elitists while promoting republican values. <McDonald, 2004> <Scythes 2014>
-- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:01, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes I like the proposed version, but I tried to put something like that in before...The MPEA is important and I believe needs to be mentioned. But I don't think that Federalist replacements or discharges were all academic. Jefferson needed support in the military since Federalist generals potentially sympathetic to New England succession could have rebelled against Jefferson. Jefferson had to get control of the military. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:45, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Like the proposed version. Perhaps, ..."replacing active opponents throughout the officer corps to promote republican values." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:12, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that reads better but imo, we need to get the term Federalist in there.
"...replacing Federalist and other opponents throughout the officer corps to promote republican values."
I still think that mention of West Point belongs in the lede and better covered in its own section but am hoping the above proposal will not push the envelope for those who still may have reservations about covering this topic with more than a sentence. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:09, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Under half the Federalists were removed from administrative offices, others resigned in old age, new positions went to Republicans. "Federalists" were not replaced per se, actively public opponents were. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:45, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

So be it.

  • Final(?) draft -- Jefferson strongly felt the need for a national military university, producing a national officer engineering corps for a national defense based on the advancement of the sciences. He signed the Military Peace Establishment Act on March 16, 1802, thus founding the United States Military Academy at West Point, hoping to bring reform to the Executive branch, replacing active opponents throughout the officer corps to promote republican values. <McDonald, 2004> <Scythes 2014>

As a good number of editors expressed reasons to cover West Point with a fair measure of historical context, two sentences seems to be more than a fair compromise. We should wait another couple days or so to see if there are any remaining and pressing reasons not to include the draft. If we can clear this hurdle it would seem we can go ahead, iron out any remaining tweaks and points of context and continue our efforts to provide a well written and truly good article for the readers. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:32, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Limiting my input to a purely stylistic comment, I suggest using the word "national" only once. YoPienso (talk) 19:15, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I like this, but from a style perspective, the final sentence is quite long... my brain is shot right now though and I can't think of a better edit. :) Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 01:25, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
@Yopienso and Dcpoliticaljunkie: Okay, I'll tend to these things while adding the draft to the article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:00, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Good Article in sight?

In spite of difference among some editors it would seem that a 'GA' is still within sight. Are there any major issues that need to be addressed before we consider renominating the article? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:32, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

I think the elephant in the room is still the excessive length of the article. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 21:53, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Yup. That was the biggest problem last time, and the criteria haven't changed. --Coemgenus (talk) 01:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
The article is better trimmed. Also converting all references to sfn format would help. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:38, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
My two cents on the length issue—the article is 25% smaller than when I began a major edit in the summer. As stated earlier, it is now just above the maximum limit guideline of 10,000 words at this point. My own sense has been that at this level, a compromise on the length has been reached. I think the article failed the GA nom recently because of the edit war which ensued over attempts to add back some of the detail that had been cut. Having said that, I do support the revisions by VH below. Hoppyh (talk) 14:37, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
@Hoppyh: Okay, but remember, the failure came a while after our little head-to-head and right at the time when significant additions were being made and all the lengthy (and not so friendly) talk was occurring. That is not to say we didn't contribute to the instability, such that it was. Yes, @TheVirginiaHistorian:, as usual, is making some well written proposals, but bear in mind they likely(?) will increase the length of the article (though I haven't done a comparison count), which is okay by me and a few other editors. Again, page length is supposed to be employed with discretion, and given all the discussion regarding it, we've been more than discrete on the matter. I have only three things I'd like to add, which won't affect page length to speak of. One. We should at least say 'something' general and definitive about Jefferson's actual treatment of his slaves i.e.not over worked -- provided well for. The existing statement is short and sketchy. Two. West point, per my proposal, should be covered with at least a couple of sentences. I believe that's a fair compromise. Three, the Louisiana Purchase (section), one of Jefferson's corner-stone accomplishments, needs a little attention. There are some errors there and a couple of important points of context are needed. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:50, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
It appears that all of @TheVirginiaHistorian:'s current edits would reduce article length which is welcome. Haven't had a chance to review but I assume they're good. @Gwillhickers:, I agree with you on relatively good treatment of slaves and West Point, and I'm interested to see what you propose on the Louisiana Purchase. Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 19:55, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
@Dcpoliticaljunkie: Thanks. See my comments below. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:09, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

"Chesapeake Affair and Embargo Act" section proposal

The section suffers from elements of an historiographic essay for scholars which takes away from describing the events in an encyclopedic style for the general reader. Add link to Embargo Act of 1807. Reduce length about 15%-20%.

Chesapeake-Leopard Affair

The British conducted raids on American shipping and kidnapped seamen in 1806–07; thousands of Americans were thus impressed into their military service. In response, Jefferson issued a call for a boycott of British goods; Congress passed the Non-importation Act but it was never enforced. While Jefferson sought a treaty to ease relations through negotiations by James Monroe and William Pinkney, the result lacked any provisions to end impressment.[169]

The British ship HMS Leopard fired upon the USS Chesapeake off the Virginia coast in June 1807, kidnapping American citizens, and Jefferson prepared for war.[170] He issued a proclamation banning armed British ships from U.S. waters. He presumed unilateral authority to call on the states to prepare 100,000 militia and ordered the purchase of arms, ammunition, and supplies, writing, "The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation [than strict observance of written laws]". The USS Revenge, dispatched to demand an explanation from the British government, was also fired upon. Jefferson called for a special session of Congress in October to enact an embargo or in the alternative consider war.[171]

Despite Napoleon’s extending the Berlin Decree and Britain’s redoubling efforts at impressment, the war fever of the summer faded. Jefferson asked for and received the Embargo Act of 1807, an alternative that allowed the U.S. more time to build up defensive works, militias and naval forces. Later historians have seen irony in Jefferson's assertion of such federal power in a national sphere of affairs.[172]

An 1807 political cartoon showing merchants dodging the "Ograbme", which is 'Embargo' spelled backwards

Secretary of State James Madison supported the embargo with equal vigor to Jefferson,[173] while Treasury Secretary Gallatin opposed it, due to its indefinite time frame and the risk it posed to the policy of American neutrality.[174] The U.S. economy suffered, criticism grew, and opponents began evading the embargo. Instead of retreating, Jefferson sent federal agents to secretly track down smugglers and violators.[175] Three acts were passed in Congress during 1807 and 1808, called the Supplementary, the Additional, and the Enforcement acts.[170] Though the government could not prevent American vessels from trading with the European belligerents once they had left American ports, the embargo triggered a devastating decline in exports.[170]

Most historians consider Jefferson's embargo to have been ineffective and harmful to American interests.[176] Others, however, portray it as an innovative, nonviolent measure which aided France in its war with Britain while preserving American neutrality.[178] Jefferson believed that the failure of the embargo was due to selfish traders and merchants showing a lack of "republican virtue", and maintained that had the embargo been widely observed, it would have avoided war in 1812.[179]

In December 1807 Jefferson announced his intention to not to seek a third term, leaving Madison and Gallatin in almost total control of affairs.[180] Shortly before leaving office in March 1809, Jefferson signed the repeal of the Embargo. In its place the Non-Intercourse Act was passed, but it proved no more effective.[170]

TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Comments on "Chesapeake Affair and Embargo Act" proposal

Again addressing the length consideration voiced by multiple editors, a section reduced by approximately 15-20%, --- primarily by removing historiographic essay material of interest to scholars which militates against an encyclopedic style for the general reader. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

George Tucker's publication

I noticed that Tucker's work, 1837, is used as a source in the biography, which is one of the oldest accounts to speak of on Jefferson. Tucker was the Dumas Malone of his day. In any case, I have no objections but thought maybe some discussion might be needed, as we're supposed to use modern sources (only?), unless there is a consensus for its use. I support the use. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:03, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Tucker is my doing—the age was discussed and agreed to in the GA review—it is listed in the other biographers' bibliographies. The work received a favorable review at the time of publication by Edinburgh Review. I was careful to use the source only for undisputed facts—full disclosure, he is an ancestor of mine.Hoppyh (talk) 20:23, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I like the inclusion of earlier scholars in the tradition of Pauline Maier for undisputed facts. Modern scholars with an enthusiasm for domestic social history often omit related elements of international ramifications that were of interest to earlier historians. Insight and judgment from their good scholarship is sometimes prescient, sometimes an antidote, to modern historiography. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:25, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
An example I think would be Tucker's perspective on the Notes on the State of Virginia. Hoppyh (talk) 13:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Agree. It's a good idea to have a balance of both new and older publications, esp since many of the modern sources use them as references. While some (few) newer sources sometimes offer newly discovered ideas, few of them present newly discovered facts and too often only offer us new opinion, conjecture, often the product of academic peer-pressure. This is esp so if they're trying to publish a book and simply want an overall good review. As I've always maintained, there is no guarantee for the integrity of a publication based on its date of publication alone. i.e.Sources should be evaluated on a per source basis. Nuff' said.-- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:44, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

TJ "Secretary of State" section rewrite

Proposed rewrite, cutting approximately 15-20%. Portions copy edited, ellipses note sentences deleted. smaller image.

Thomas Jefferson portrait, 1791

Soon after returning from France, Jefferson accepted Washington's invitation to serve as Secretary of State.[78] ...The first major issues before the Cabinet were the national debt and the permanent location of the capital. Jefferson opposed a national debt preferring each state to retire its own, while Hamilton, desired consolidation of various states' debts by the federal government.[81] The second major issue was the capital's permanent location. Hamilton favored a capital close to the major commercial centers of the Northeast, while Washington, Jefferson, and other agrarians, wanted it located to the south.

After lengthy deadlock, the Compromise of 1790 was struck locating the capital on the Potomac River, while the federal government assumed the war debts of all 13 states.[82] In May 1792 Jefferson, alarmed at the political rivalries taking shape, wrote to Washington, urging him to run for re-election that year as a unifying influence.[83] He entreated the president to rally the citizenry to a party that would defend democracy against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests, as espoused by the Federalists. Historians recognize this letter as the earliest delineation of Democratic-Republican Party principles.[84] ...

Jefferson supported France against Britain when the two nations fought in 1793, though his arguments in the Cabinet were undercut by French Revolutionary envoy Edmond-Charles Genêt's open scorn for President Washington….[86] In his discussions with British Minister George Hammond, Jefferson tried unsuccessfully to persuade the British to acknowledge their violation of the Treaty of Paris, to vacate their posts in the Northwest, and to compensate the U.S. for slaves whom the British had freed at the end of the war. Seeking a return to private life, Jefferson resigned the cabinet position in December 1793, perhaps seeking to bolster his political influence from outside the administration.[87]

After the Washington administration negotiated the unpopular Jay Treaty with Great Britain (1794), Jefferson saw a cause around which to rally his party and organized opposition from Monticello.[88] The treaty, designed by Hamilton, aimed to reduce tensions and increase trade. Jefferson warned that it would increase British influence and subvert republicanism, calling it "the boldest act [Hamilton and Jay] ever ventured on to undermine the government".[89] The Treaty passed, but when it expired in 1805 during Jefferson’s administration, it was not renewed. Jefferson continued his pro-French stance; during the violence of the Reign of Terror, he declined to disavow the revolution because "To back away from France would be to undermine the cause of republicanism in America."[90]

TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:59, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Comments on "Secy of State" section proposal

The proposal uses existing sources, eliminates some duplication, ce greater focus on Jefferson's activity as Secretary of State, reducing its length approximately 15-20%. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:59, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

  Done following the week's review. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 06:11, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Citation convention

As @Cmguy777: mentions above, we need to adopt a single citation convention. Currently there are two conventions used extensively in this article. (Harvard and the SFN) I am not sure if this is a GA requirement -- have to check -- but it most certainly is a FA requirement. IMO we should go with the SFN convention. Either way, this is going to involve a fair amount of editing. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:52, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm barely involved here anymore, but I agree with GWillhickers on this. For me, sfn is the easiest to work with. There's a little more work the first time you add a cited work, but after that it saves a lot of time and, more importantly, when a new editor edits the page someday, it's easier to read the editing screen with only small sfn cites between the sentences. Articles with long cites in the middle of the text are much harder to edit. --Coemgenus (talk) 14:04, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I just did a citation type count (SFN v Harvard style). There are only seven occurrences of SFN type, while there are more than 300 of the the Harvard type, so we should go with the Harvard'. Besides, there is not much difference in the number of characters used in either. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:16, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  Done -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:13, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Page length our Achilles Heel?

What will happen when we try to bring the article up to FA standards, where good writing and comprehensiveness are FA requirements, if we continue to let the idea of page length determine how we author the narrative? There will be no more room to add comprehensive content/context if we continue to subscribe to the page length guideline dogmatically here and now. The idea of page length has been the cause for too many needless debates here for the last several months. Much of this could have been averted if we didn't blindly fixate on this idea. As editors WP allows us to use common sense and discretion here. We need to do so or we will never be able to bring the article up to FA standards where we will be required to add context and comprehensiveness. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:23, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

The following is criterion #4 for Featured ArticlesLength. It stays focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail and uses summary style. There are a number of editors who believe this length/summary style policy as numerically set out earlier has real meaning, including the recent reviewer on the GA nom. At a current length of 10% above the maximum readability range, the editors' discretion has been exhausted according to WP length policy. There is no agreement on this issue and hence there will be no GA or FA upgrade in my view. Hoppyh (talk) 21:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Summary style involves moving content to sub-articles when the main article grows too long. Why not just do more of that? Everyking (talk) 22:12, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Why not employ a little discretion regarding the "occasional exceptions" outlined in the page length guideline? This is indeed an exceptional article whose subject is complex and extensively involved in many areas of early American history. Re:Criterion #4 -- Yes, we stay focused on the main topic (per section). No one is asking that we fill up the given sections with numerous minor details. This is a distinction that's always glossed over, along with the following two FA requirements:
FA criterion #1a says the article must be 'well-written: its prose is engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard.
FA criterion #1b clearly says the article must be comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context.
  • As for the sub articles, currently the reader has to break away from this article more than a dozen times and search through other articles just to get the basic stuff. Sub-articles are for in depth coverage. Too many times basic and definitive statements have been deleted (rarely moved) or are outright blocked entirely. None of what has been presented here really negates the idea that we are allowed to employ discretion when it comes to page length.
  • We have already removed much content and have scaled down almost all the sections. Now what? We'll still be facing the problem of trying to add context and comprehensiveness in the effort to bring the article up to FA standards. If we employ simple common sense and discretion we avoid this calamity and all the lengthy discussion that goes with it. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:36, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Indian removal map inappropriate

The map that was depicted in the Indian removal section deals with the relocation of "Native Americans from the Southeastern United States between 1832 and 1835." as it says in the image description. The areas effected, in dark green, also depict the year dates involved, years after Jefferson had died, and long after his presidency, so this map has been removed. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:25, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes. The map should be removed. That map would belong in the Andrew Jackson bioagraphy article if not their already. Cmguy777 (talk) 03:29, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

"University of Virginia" section copyedit

Copy edit of section proposed, ellipses show redaction. No change in wording or citations other than "campus" buildings, reduced image.

The University of Virginia
Jefferson's "Academical Village”

Jefferson envisioned a university free of church influences where students could specialize in many new areas not offered at other colleges. He believed education engendered a stable society, which should provide publicly funded schools accessible to students from all social strata, based solely on ability.[281] ...He was the principal designer of the campus buildings, planned the University's curriculum and served as the first rector upon its opening in 1825.[283]

Jefferson was a strong disciple of Greek and Roman architectural styles, which he believed to be most representative of American democracy. ...The layout of the university's grounds, which Jefferson called the 'Academical Village', reflected his educational ideas. ...The university had a library rather than a church at its center, emphasizing its secular nature—a controversial aspect at the time.[286]

When Jefferson died in 1826, James Madison replaced him as rector.[287] Jefferson bequeathed most of his library to the University.[288]

TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:52, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Comments on UVA copyedit proposal

I wonder if this is still more than is called for, but as I have more graduate hours from UVA than my alma mater W&M, sentiment leads me to be generous. In approving UVA, the General Assembly gutted common schooling statewide in the "Literacy Fund", but that is too much detail for this venue, its scholastic irony and nuance notwithstanding. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:52, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

On retrospect, it seems the U.V. section is rather short, esp when compared to the 'Chesapeake/Embargo section which is somewhat lengthy. The U.V. was one of Jefferson's major accomplishments, one of only three things mentioned on his tombstone. As such it seems it warrants better coverage in par with other major accomplishments. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:05, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I did not propose a copy edit of the UVA section for length considerations alone, but also with an eye to excessive detail to achieve encyclopedic style. UVA is founded in 1819, seven years before Jefferson’s death at 83. He did not see its evolution during his lifetime. I like adding mention of it as a “tombstone accomplishment”. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)


This may be getting ahead of ourselves, but when the article reaches GA status it becomes eligible for a DYK presentation on the WP main page. Just wondering what we should say. Reminder, DYK's are supposed to be especially interesting and perhaps somewhat unusual. We don't say things like e.g.DYK, Jefferson authored the D.O.I.? We could say, perhaps, Jefferson was a slave owner but while a lawyer represented slaves seeking to establish their freedom. Of course this will no doubt pop a lot of modern day bubbles, esp in academia, but what the heck, one can never get enough education, even in modern times. :-) -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:02, 29 January 2016 (UTC)


@Rjensen: - You removed a link claiming "link is not needed--it tells zero about TJ" -- What about all the other links, like Maryland and other places, for openers, that tell us "zero" about Jefferson? Seems that the link for List of amendments to the United States Constitution is well placed in the Louisiana purchase section, regarding Jefferson's concern for a Constitutional amendment. If there is a better place for the link I can understand that, but are you sure you want to apply the 'Tells us zero about Jefferson' yardstick to all the other links? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:50, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

yes let's get rid of useless links. The question to ask: does it help; the reader if we encourage him to jump to a different article. In some cases yes but only if there is a good reason. The List of constl amendments is of zero use here, I suggest--why should a reader jump there?? Rjensen (talk) 22:02, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
You can't be serious! WP articles are filled with 'tells us zero about THE subject' links. Do you have any idea of what road you're about to embark on with your desire to get rid of "useless links"? We'll be here forever trying to decide what and what not to include. We should of course not link 'everything', but this tells us zero approach is a recipe for never ending debate. The existing link for the Ohio River tells us zero about Jefferson, for openers. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:06, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I am serious. this article should have zero useless links. That's called quality control--telling readers to go elsewhere when we know they will learn little of use about Jefferson is a bad idea, I suggest. Wikipedia guidelines say do not link to common words: Appropriate links provide instant pathways to locations within and outside the project that are likely to increase readers' understanding of the topic at hand. WP:LINKS. words like Maryland and Spain and Atlantic Ocean are common. "Ohio River" is just useful enough because that article has a useful map. Rjensen (talk) 22:15, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
RJ is correct on links to common words/places. Hoppyh (talk) 14:58, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
@Rjensen and Hoppyh: Rj', I have no qualms about dropping 'some' common knowledge links, esp in the lede section, but that's not addressing your original contention that links that have 'zero' to do with Jefferson should be removed. e.g. 'Polymath' (having much to do with Jefferson, btw) and 'constitutional amendments' are not exactly common knowledge items, so please be careful. Jefferson originally thought a constitutional amendment was necessary for governing the Louisiana Territory. I suspect most readers have an idea of what a constitutional amendment is, but many do not, and it's doubtful most readers know what a Polymath is, so we should link these. Louisiana and Georgia were linked in the Ulysses S. Grant article when it became a Featured Article -- even New York is linked in the Benjamin Harrison featured Article, and I could easily go on, so unless there is a definitive policy not to link such items in the body of the text I am taking strong exception to removing 'all' such common knowledge links -- esp ones for geographical items, where even though a reader may know of the topic, will still want to do a quick check to look at borders, the capitol, rivers, etc. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:29, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
We started here with complaints about the article being too long-- that it takes too long to read. It takes much longer to read when the user is diverted off to side articles. I suggested only if the side article has some new information about Jefferson should we link to it. The list of constitutional amendments has no new information about constitutional amendments involving Jefferson. For the person who does not know what a polymath is, it takes them five seconds to find out on their smart phone. I think we should assume that the readers of this article are at least as well-educated as the average Wikipedia reader, which means a few years of university education. In my opinion this article should be directed at the typical first or second year university student taking a history course And these reading this much on Jefferson he should not have to be told that Georgia is a state. Rjensen (talk) 15:25, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Following hyperlinks is an option, not an obligation. The ability to look up unfamiliar words and concepts allows us to taylor the text to more than just one particular demographic group. No-one forces a user to click on links when they don't need the information. On the other hand, it's a much bigger diversion to get out my smartphone than to right-click on polymath, then hit Cmd-W to close the tab when I'm done. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:28, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree with @Stephan Schulz: -- disagree with @Rjensen:. Links don't make the article longer. Links are only used when a reader wishes to learn, or learn more, about the topic linked to. While the link to 'Amendments doesn't tell us anything about Jefferson, anymore than the link to the Ohio River does, it allows the reader to do a quick check, as I've explained above, where the topic will be summed up in the lede. Also, we should link Polymath, or else say that Jefferson was a man of many talents. Most readers now will have to stop and consult a dictionary just to get through the lede section to find out this very basic fact about Jefferson. Having said that, I can compromise and live without links to places like France, Great Britain, etc.-- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:42, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Rather than link to ' List of Amendments we could instead link to the History of the United States Constitution where Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase are covered specifically in terms of an amendment. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:07, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


Have just completed moving Cite book templates and web addresses from body of text to the bibliography. Have also converted the few SFN citations to Harvard style. For those unfamiliar with linking citations in the body of the text to the Cite Book template in the bibliography below is a simple example.

<ref>[[#abc| Author name, 2000]], p.123</ref>
{{cite book |last=Smith |first=Alex |title=book title |year=2000 |publisher=publisher name |ref=abc }}

Cheers. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:37, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

@Cmguy777: Apparently you're not concerned about consistency in the citations. We are not using the SFN type of citation and are trying to keep all the cites under one convention. In the future, please use the above Harvard style citation when adding them to the text. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:41, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Louisiana Purchase

I just corrected a couple of errors (date of ratification, etc) and added some important points of context, along with an important quote from Jefferson regarding his feelings towards France's acquisition of Louisiana from Spain, which he felt threatened the security of the continent and compromised U.S. relations with both Spain and France. I also removed the picture of Napoleon, as Jefferson never saw the man and was only involved with him remotely and briefly. For those still concerned about length, the section only increased in size by aprox 600 characters. (not including citations, links, etc) Other than wanting to add a point of context, a few words, to the slavery section, I am done adding content to this article and will concentrate my efforts on tweaks, citations, linking etc. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:54, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Jefferson looks like a 20th century President. What about Indians ? What about slavery ? None of this is addressed. Ellis (2008) addressed Indian removal but this has been deleted. Cmguy777 (talk) 05:07, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I am reluctant to allow whimsical speculation and scholastic ironies to interrupt the narrative flow in an article of Jefferson’s life. Both points of Ellis related to Indians and Louisiana Territory slavery can be addressed in the “Historical reputation” section because Ellis is important in any treatment of Jefferson’s historiography.
It is striking in how many respects Jefferson’s vision of a virtuous republic anticipated our own, or, it is striking how many elements of Jefferson’s vision we have adopted in this century. That take-away should not be watered down with stylistic artifice using anachronistic criticism out of historical context. Historiographic asides are not historical context. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:09, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777 and TheVirginiaHistorian: -- Jefferson's reasons for (eventually) allowing slavery in the Louisiana territory were not a factor in the purchase. National security was the paramount reason. Having said that, I noticed that the Slavery section doesn't mention slavery in regard to the purchase, so I would not mind a balanced and neutral statement regarding the spread of slavery in that section. i.e.Not wanting to compromise the purchase of the Louisiana territory, and French slave holing interests, Jefferson eventually allowed slavery after a one year moratorium. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:56, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
VirginiaHistorian Are you saying Indian removal and slavery are "stylistic artifice" and "whimsical speculation"? Avoiding signifigant issues does not make them go away. We are not talking about French slave holding interests. We are talking about U.S. slave holding interests at that time period and the diffusion of slaves into the Louisiana Territory particularly in Louisiana the Pelican state. Jefferson did want Indians to be removed west of the Mississippi and Congress gave him authority to do so. Jefferson moderated his ban on slavery in the West such as in 1784 and 1787. Jefferson believed in a diffusion theory of slavery that if slavery diffused from the East to the West there would be less likely a slave revolt that took place in Haiti. Indians and slaves were not involved in the LP purchase rather Europeans and European Americans were. I believe that the article should discuss these issues. Ellis (2008) discusses both issues and Freehling (2005) discusses slavery. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:09, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: -- why not just mention the idea of slavery in the Louisiana territory in the Slavery section per my suggestion? Also, there is also a dedicated section for Indian removal. While we're on the topic there, I noticed there is a lot of one sided commentary in that section where four (!) different authors are mentioned, so I'm not quite understanding your complaint. Meanwhile that section doesn't mention that Jefferson tried to encourage agriculture, ranching and other forms of assimilation to the Indians who overall were racist and xenophobic and were much more inclined to pick up the 'sword' than were the largely Christian settlers. Given the one sided commentary it almost seems we should place a POV tag in that section. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:17, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
No one is suggesting Indians were non violent or pacifists, although, that is another discussion, how many Indians tribes used violence. Some European "tribes" used violence, including the Vikings who discovered America ca 1000. Indian wars had been going on for about 800 years before Jefferson's presidency. A genuine Peace Policy was not proposed until President Ulysess S. Grant. We are getting off subject. Although if there were Indian wars under Jefferson it might be good to mention them. We can mention the LP and LT in the slavery section and the Indian removal section. I am not sure what law but Congress authorized Jefferson to remove Indians from the LT. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:10, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

The List of wars involving the United States mentions as the only war of his term: the First Barbary War (1801-1805). The previous major war against Native Americans was the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795) and the next was Tecumseh's War (1811). Jefferson was not really involved in either of them.

A significant event of his term in relation to Native Americans was the Treaty of Grouseland (1805) which peacefully purchased additional areas from the tribes of modern Indiana and Ohio. However, this treaty is credited to William Henry Harrison, the Governor of Indiana Territory. Harrison was originally appointed by previous president John Adams. According to Harrison's article, Jefferson simply "granted Harrison authority to negotiate and conclude treaties with the Indians."

A more controversial treaty under Jefferson was the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809). At first seen as another peaceful purchase of land from several tribes, the treaty controversially excluded the Shawnee from negotiations while including areas they had recently claimed. It was one of the causes of Tecumseh's War, but Jefferson was out of office by the time the war started. Dimadick (talk) 07:17, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

@Cmguy777: "U.S. slave holding interests” discussion belongs to the article on American slavery certainly. When they are NOT Jefferson’s, it is artificial to discuss them as guilt by association. There is no evidence of Jefferson actively promoting slavery expansion in the Louisiana Territory, only idle scholarly speculation that since there WAS such promotion in his time, the all powerful Jefferson had to be complicit, no, actively engaged in it. That's nonsensical whimsical speculation unhinged from historical research of any kind.
Jefferson sought to remove British military allies which had made war on the U.S., there is no historical evidence that eastern woodland Native-Americans did not make war on themselves and on Europeans in the 1700s. The whimsical speculation that there is any serious question about “how many Indian tribes used violence” is just that. Those not successfully waging war were absorbed or extinguished by other Amerindians, as was the fate of numerous tribes adjacent to the conquering Powhatan in Virginia, north, south, east and west of their origins. The adjacent settlement of English just happened to be an exception.
“Peaceful purchase of additional areas” whether from France or Native-Americans to avoid war and aid western settlement was indeed a Jefferson policy; that should not be conflated with forceable “Indian removal” by Jackson against Supreme Court ruling. Such would be an artifice of rhetorical flourish unsupported by facts of historical record, a mere irony of modern scholarship by its imprecise terminology. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:05, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@TheVirginiaHistorian: Is wikipedia denying that Jefferson was President? Slavery was important during Jefferson's times because there was the percieved threat of slave rebellion. Under law Jefferson as President was required to enforce the Fugitive Slave law of 1793. Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime and he was a slaveowner President. The LP helped the South more then the North in terms on monetary slave interest. These are facts not whimsical theories. To not allow editor opinion in wikipedia talk pages is censorship and to not allow reliable references in an article is censorship. There is no need to attack the intentions of editors. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:03, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
This is all very interesting but we seem to be getting away from the idea of a simple solution. Let's just make the statement regarding slavery eventually reaching the Louisiana territory in the Slavery section and again, there is already a dedicated section for Indian removal, with (much) more than a fair share of one sided commentary. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:52, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
For the sake of compromise I am in agreement. In terms of slavery Jefferson's diffusion theory needs to be mentioned. In terms of Indian removal mentioning the law giving Jefferson the power to remove Indians and the controversial treaty of Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) should be mentioned. Cmguy777 (talk) 20:49, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777 and TheVirginiaHistorian: -- Cm', thanks, I believe this is more than fair. Also, in the Indian removal section it says: Historians such as Peter S. Onuf and Merrill D. Peterson argue that Jefferson's actual Indian policies did little to promote assimilation and were a pretext to seize lands, yet ref [150] gives Miller, 2008, p.94, as the reference. Does Miller refer to Onuf and Peterson? In any case, please keep the language neutral and in context. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:07, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Apparently there was no great Indian War during Jefferson's time, but I think appropriate to put in the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) and the law that gave Jefferson power to remove Indians from the LT. Let the reader decide possibly even stating there were no signifigant Indian wars during Jefferson's presidency. The diffusion theory of slavery is what it is. Jefferson moderated his view and was against banning slavery in the LT but rather permitted diffusion. The theory itself is controversial since slavery actually expanded, but Jefferson's main purpose of diffusion was to prevent a slave rebellion in Virginia. Possibly Jefferson thought slavery would be limited by spreading out the number of slaves per acre such as in New England. The subject is a bit confusing in itself but this is the policy Jefferson adopted while president. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:11, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

@Cmguy777: The Louisiana Purchase did NOT “help the South more than the North”, when it broke the slave-based sectional balance in the Senate and contributing to free-soil majorities in the House 6-3 not counting Washington, Idaho, Nebraska or the Dakotas: MI, IA, WS,OR, MN, and KS -- as opposed to LA, MO and AR by the onset of the Civil War. More scholastic speculation asserted as “facts".

“Is WP denying that Jefferson was President?” — no, WP is not asserting an unsubstantiated speculation of scholastic whimsy that everything enacted by Congress was just as Jefferson intended. The factoid of Congressional back and forth on slave settlement does not meet WP:WEIGHT relating to Jefferson’s actions for Jefferson’s article. There is no evidence connecting the two, only a scholastic speculation which amounts to WP:POV.

Rehearsing the "diffusion theory" related to Virginia separated by decades from events decades later in Louisiana is too tenuous to be taken seriously. In the intervening years we have Jefferson’s support of free-soil counties in western Virginia and free-soil territories west of the Appalachians to the Mississippi, both of which failed in the respective legislatures — almost as though Jefferson did not effect every intention he had over legislatures, you see, --- this without denying Jefferson was President in some sort of rhetorical reductio ad absurdum on your part. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:29, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

@TheVirginiaHistorian: Monetarily speaking the LP and LT was much more prosperous in terms of slavery for the South then the north particularly in Louisiana where the soil and climate was made for agriculture products particularly "king" cotton. Jefferson in 1784 was for banning slavery after 1800 in the West. Did Jefferson introduce legislation for free soil counties in West Virginia the western territories ? Jefferson was President. From 1801 to 1809 Jefferson signed bills into law and enforced the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793. Jefferson was commander in chief of the armed forces and exerted substancial power even influencing the Barbary Pirates on the African coast. He spoke out on getting rid of the International slave trade and Congress responded. He was quiet on the domestic slave trade while president and he moderated his initial 1784 ban on slavery, why, because of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) where the former slaves killed their former masters in a slave revolt. Jefferson believed that diffusing slaves into the West would alleviate the number of slaves in Virginia and thus prevent a slave revolt. That's why there was only a one year moretorium on slaves being brought into the LT. Ferling (2000) critisizes Jefferson for not taking a substantial lead on ending domestic slavery. Cmguy777 (talk) 16:35, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: Louisiana Territory is “more prosperous in terms of slavery for the South than the North” is a whimsical tautology since the North did not use slavery as a means of production. You unthinkingly dismiss the superior agricultural production of family farms and industrial lumber production in the six states mentioned. Most of "king cotton" was not grown in Louisiana Territory slave states. You are making that up without reliable sources. Jefferson spoke out against the international slave trade when all but South Carolina had outlawed the practice state by state. He did not single handedly transform American public opinion on the subject, he place himself squarely behind a national consensus formed a priori his efforts. There was no such consensus arrived at in the matter of domestic slavery.
Ferling, whom I admire, “criticizes Jefferson for not taking a substantial lead on ending domestic slavery.” Does he discuss where the votes were to come from, and the correspondence to support it? No. It is speculation unrelated to the historical record. Randolph of Roanoke and his Quids were not to be moved on the subject by a frigate demonstration in the Mediterranean to free American sailors from Muslim slavery. There is no reliable source to that effect, and I doubt Ferling attempted it --- even as arm chair whimsy of the what-if-history which is popular with aficionados of the Newt Gingrich methodology. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 19:30, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Direct quote William W. Freehling (2005) page 72 "The Louisana fragment of the Louisiana Purchase especially mocked the dream of diffusion toward liberty. This tropical basement of the purchase received an avalanche of blacks, enriching white men who meant to keep slaves forever." Ferling (2000) page 287 "...[John] Adams misjudged Jefferson's commitment to the eradication of slavery. Had Jefferson been the foe of slavery that he claimed to be,...he might have achieved much..."" This arguement is going around in circles. Congress was debating slavery in the LP when Jefferson was President but Jefferson was silent. Had Jefferson advocated a slave ban in the LT he may have gotten the votes he wanted. He spoke out against the international slave trade and got the votes he wanted. Jefferson was not a weak President and his words were taken seriously. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:59, 22 January 2016 (UTC)


We must remember that during Jefferson's terms as president the slavery issue was so heated and controversial it was causing a dangerous rift in the House. So much so that a group of Federalists led by Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering was entertaining the idea to plan a separate northern confederacy, and offered Vice President Burr the presidency of the proposed new country if he could persuade New York to join. Does Ferling even acknowledge this sort of thing? It sort of amazes me that various historians, who are supposed to have 'some' insights as to the causes of events in history, seem to be dumb founded over the idea of Jefferson's silence. In any event, let's come up with a compromise statement that acknowledges a greatly divided House, one that's factual and in context, that will not leave any editor dismayed or disappointed, too much. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't speak for Ferling. Jefferson's presidency was what is was. The article on Jefferson needs to be neutral. If Ferling is critical of Jefferson then he is critical of Jefferson. The article should give readers the most reliable information on Jefferson. Many historians probably have some POV in their works. Wikipedia editors should be able to work together without bickering and get Jefferson to GA and FA. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Hey, I supported a compromise statement. All I ask is that it doesn't promote one POV or leave any important context out. Okaaaay?? -- Gwillhickers (talk)
Ferling's and Ellis' personal disappointment in what-if historiography belong in the "Historical reputation" section. Their unsourced speculation are not a part of the historical context of actual events or of Jefferson's life, and need not be included in the biography narrative. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:37, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Agree about not including unsourced speculations. Slavery had to be one of the last things on Jefferson's mind when Spain ceded the Louisiana territory to France where he felt that the U.S. should try to purchase the territory. The issue of slavery didn't come up until later, so, if there is consensus, we might want to mention that slavery spread there, but again, so long as it is factual and includes the proper context. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:40, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
That is censorship. Ferling and Ellis are established historians and to censor their criticism of Jefferson makes this article unreliable. This is why editors have difficulty editing on this article or having disussions on this talk page. Both discussions and historical context are being censured. Adding editor unsourced opinion to the article is clearly a violation of wikipedia policy. Gwillhickers you seem to be backing out on your pledge of compromise. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:47, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
You're seeing problems where none really exist. As I said, I support a factual compromise, in context, for mentioning slavery in the new territory. I am against promoting speculations from a couple cherry picked authors or any one POV regarding slavery and the L.P. Once again, we have dedicated sections on Slavery and Indian removal. In the mean time, please try to add balanced commentary in the Indian removal section before someone puts a POV tag there. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:46, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Compromise? I don't see it from any side, including my own. Hoppyh (talk) 14:51, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
To rule out criticism of Jefferson by established historians is censorship. Readers or editors do not have to personally agree to the criticism either. Editors can't pick and choose what is factual and what is not factual, if the facts are not in Jefferson's favor or disfavor. Diffusion of slaves into the LP was a fact and Jefferson supported this policy. He was doing this for what he believed humanitarian reasons for European Americans to prevent a slave rebellion. Jefferson may have wanted slavery diffused in the LP so it would be easier for masters to free their slaves. That was the idea. But in his letter to Edward Coles he told Coles to keep his slaves. The reader can decide Jefferson's motivations for diffusion rather then the banning slavery as he did in 1784 and 1787. I think there is room for compromise and that Jefferson can get to GA and FA. Cmguy777 (talk) 21:47, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: -- You didn't seem too concerned about censorship when the basic statement (didn't overwork slaves and provided well for them) was deleted in the Slavery section. Anyway, would you just please mention this respective fact in the Slavery section? If you must include commentary, make it brief and be sure it is balanced out with factual context. i.e.Slavery not an issue at the time of Purchase, placating the French and their interests in the L.T., etc. Thanx. Also, the Indian removal section is filled with commentary from four different authors but lacks the context of the situation. i.e.Jefferson's attempts to introduce agriculture and ranching to the xenophobic and racist Indians who refused to assimilate with the world around them. Thanx again. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:34, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
If there is a reliable source that says the above statement then by all means put in the article. No censorship here. Critical statements in my opinion give Jefferson better understanding to the readers of Jefferson. People will always form their own opinions of Jefferson regardless of what is written in Wikipedia articles. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:58, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Critical statements unrelated to the historical context of Jefferson's life and unsubstantiated by documented evidence belong in the "Historical reputation" section. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't have time to read this whole discussion, but I don't think slavery is a major facet of the Louisiana Purchase that should be covered in the section. It should be covered in the LP article and perhaps even the TJ & slavery article, but it isn't significant enough for the section.Dcpoliticaljunkie (talk) 18:37, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777, TheVirginiaHistorian, and Dcpoliticaljunkie: -- though I am partial to Cm's concerns I agree with TVH and Dc'. Speculative commentary about Jefferson should indeed be placed in the Historical reputation section. This would include moving the abundance of commentary in the Indian removal section to this section also. Still in all, commentary should be balanced out with other commentary, or at least with factual context.
e.g.Though Jefferson made attempts to assimilate Indians into western lifestyles, some historians claim his Indian removal policies helped in the effort to relocate Indians to the west. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:21, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Indian removal narrative skewed

The new and existing account in the Indian removal section is at best sketchy. Removed from the narrative was the statement Jefferson believed assimilation was best for Native Americans; second best was removal to the west. He felt the worst outcome of the cultural and resources conflict between European Americans and Native Americans would be their attacking the whites. ... if we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we will never lay it down until that tribe is exterminated ... IOW, Jefferson was partail to the fate of the Indians. The existing account also neglects to say that several India nations (i.e.Shawnee, Creek, etc) embraced Jefferson's "civilization program," and went along with Jefferson's proposals to adapt ranching and agriculture. Our account here is also not in accord with the account given at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, where it states that "...most importantly to keep them allied with the United States and not with European powers..." and "...American Indian peoples were divided as to how to respond to Jefferson's policies. The TJF account also mentions how Jefferson was instrumental in forming the "Five Civilized Tribes" and that "Many in the Creek and Cherokee nations built towns and plantations, and some individuals held African American slaves just as their white neighbors." This did not begin to happen until Jefferson was president. This section needs to be rewritten and more context (re)introduced to the narrative. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:59, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

good point. Someone removed Sheehan's analysis in violation of POV rules (All major views must be included) --I restored it. (Bernard W. Sheehan at the time was a former Fellow at the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, and was associate professor of history at Indiana University and associate editor of the Journal of American History.) Rjensen (talk) 19:49, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for adding some context. I believe more is needed -- and less one-sided commentary. Also, I just tagged the Thomas Jefferson and Indian removal page, as it too had the same wrong map and doesn't even mention the Five Civilized Tribes and Jefferson's concern for the Indian. Not long ago I said I was done adding content, so I'm sitting back, for now, and hope the effort to improve the overall narrative will continue. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:44, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Further info

Here's some interesting reading from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which includes an abundance of sources:

After reading these articles it seems rather clear we should mention Jefferson's Enlightenment ideals regarding the American Indian, the Five Civilized Tribes, along with his general (and benevolent) feelings toward them. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:19, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Jefferson's addresses to the American Indian

Below are some links to Jefferson's addresses to the various Indian tribes, taken from the Yale Law School Avalon Project. Hope they add to the insights Jefferson had in regards to these peoples.

-- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:22, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

These are good primary sources but from reading through them Jefferson seems to view Indians as children and European Americans as their father or caretakers. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:38, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Jefferson directly referred to the Indians as children in To the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, Washington (January 10, 1806) and To the Wolf and People of the Mandan Nation, Washington (December 30, 1806) Cmguy777 (talk) 22:49, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • "My children, it is unnecessary for me to advise you against spending all your time and labor in warring with and destroying your fellow-men, and wasting your own members." --- To the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, Washington (January 10, 1806) Cmguy777 (talk) 22:53, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • "My children, you are come from the other side of our great island, from where the sun sets, to see your new friends at the sun rising." --- To the Wolf and People of the Mandan Nation, Washington (December 30, 1806) Cmguy777 (talk) 22:56, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
@Cmguy777: You are referring to and belaboring Jefferson's terms of endearment. Jefferson maintained that the American Indian was equal to the European. His reference to Logan's lament should also help to dispel any notion that he actually regarded these people as children. Also in Jefferson's day, letters of correspondence were often closed with the phrase "Your humble and obedient servant". If we in similar manner attempted to interpret this literally we would also be embracing another distortion. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:57, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
To Jefferson's credit there appear to be no Indian Wars under his administration. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:06, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Isn't this supposed to read, 'to the Indian's credit' , there were no wars under Jefferson's administration? Virtually all wars between settlers and Indians were initiated by Indians, esp in the earlier days of settlement. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:57, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
That depends on one's historical perspective. Congress gave Jefferson the power to remove Indians and at that time there was no Indian representation or citizenship in Congress. The power to remove Indians is the power of war. Being forced to live as "farmers" rather then hunting and gathering. Not being in anyway part of the Louisiana Purchase negotiations in France. Did European Americans invade America and push the Indians off their repected tribal lands by war? Treaties being broken or amended. This goes beyond the scope of this discussion. Jefferson and the Indians deserve credit for having no Indian Wars. Jefferson advocated the possibility of Indian extermination. Are there any tribes that advocated European American extermination ? Cmguy777 (talk) 23:18, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh yes. That's what the Indian wars of 1810-13 in the Midwest were all about, as Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa sought to purify and destroy all traces of European culture in their domain. the brother --see his article: he "denounced Americans as children of the Evil Spirit and mobilized the Indians in the Midwest to fight them." It was a cause of the war of 1812. Rjensen (talk) 23:32, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Indians invaded one another’s territory, displacing one another from their respective lands in a kaleidoscope of shifting domains. And they fought each other to extinction/assimilation on occasion. The colonial treaties with Amerindians were no longer in force when they became military allies of the French and then of the English and initiated war on the colonies/states. Jefferson did not advocate --, he acknowledged the possibility of Indian tribe extinction were they to persist in making war against agricultural settlement. Assimilation, were they to stay in place, and peaceable negotiation with purchase and relocation were also possibilities. That the French and English did not include their military allies in negotiations at Paris cannot be made into a fault of United States diplomacy. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:47, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

More context needed

Does the entire topic of the American Indian in regards to Jefferson really belong under the 'Presidency' section? President Jefferson continued the efforts of Washington and supported treaties whose aim was to acquire land and promote trade, but most importantly he wanted to keep the Indian allied with the U.S. and not with European powers. He also used the treaties to further the program of gradual civilization which was completely in keeping with Jefferson's Enlightenment thinking. We should cover this particular effort under the Presidency section but the entire topic of the American Indian and Jefferson is best treated as a whole, not limited to his terms as president. i.e.Jefferson writes candidly about the Indians in his Notes on the State of Virginia, and speaks of their customs, having no actual laws. During his life he noted that there was little to no crime among the various Indian "confederacies". In his Notes' he equates the Indian to all men of Earth where he writes:

...their having never submitted themselves to any laws, any coercive power, any shadow of government. Their only controls are their manners, and that moral sense of right and wrong, which, like the sense of tasting and feeling in every man, makes a part of his nature.

His Notes' also reveal where Jefferson rejects the (then) contemporary idea that "environmentalism" was what rendered the Indian inferior in body and mind to Europenans -- Jefferson refuted this notion and defended the American Indian culture. Also in his Notes' Jefferson appended a speech given by the Mingo chief Logan, who mourned the loss of his family in an attack by a white settler. Jefferson held up "Logan's Lament" as an example of a articulate and compelling oratory that was equal of any European orator.

Anyone who seriously wants to understand and write accurately about Jefferson's views of the American Indian should read Query (chapter) XI in his Notes on the State of Virginia and also his addresses to the various Indian nations, linked above. The Indian section still needs more context whose topic should really have a stand alone section as does Slavery. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:25, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Concur with a "Native-American" section comparable to the "Slavery" section, given modern historiographic emphasis on ethnic studies, I suppose, but including Jefferson's considerations of national security given Pontiac, Blue Jacket, Techumseh in the French and Indian War, Revolution and run up to War of 1812 and other violations of peace treaties too numerous to mention in an article on Jefferson's life. Though not necessarily as long, perhaps as long as the recent cuts I proposed above. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with TheVirginiaHistorian on this point. Rjensen (talk) 12:46, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
@TheVirginiaHistorian, Rjensen, Cmguy777, and Hoppyh: -- Yes, it would be important to the biographical narrative that we include more general context, perspective, in one form or another. Certainly we don't want to enumerate all the different items as concerns Pontiac, Blue Jacket, Techumseh, French and Indian War, etc, but we should mention, if not in a separate section, in appropriate locations, the various points of context regarding Jefferson's feelings toward the American Indian. I would suggest that we begin a list of such general points of context below and incorporate them into the text where most appropriate, keeping it brief, but not to the point where we throw comprehensiveness out the window altogether. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:43, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Proposed context for Jefferson's feelings toward the American Indian

I would recommend we mention the most definitive items in terms of Jefferson's actual views, and once we compose a short list here we should then go through the biography and decide if it's best to include the proposed context in a separate section or if there are better places to mention these items in the narrative.

  • Logan's Lament -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:43, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • In Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia he recognized the American Indian as being equal to Europeans:
...their having never submitted themselves to any laws, any coercive power, any shadow
of government. Their only controls are their manners, and that moral sense of right and wrong,
which, like the sense of tasting and feeling in every man, makes a part of his nature.
  • In a 1785 letter to the Marquis de Chastellux Jefferson maintained "I believe the Indian then to be in body and mind equal to the whiteman." -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Gwillhickers. That is one side of the Jefferson coin. Jefferson advocated the potential of their extermination to his Secretary of War. He believed the Indian nomatic way of life was "savage" and advocated them to be farmers. He was writing to a French aristrocrat concerning Indians being equal to whites in bodies and minds not to the Indians themselves. When writing to Indians he referred to them as as "My children" speaking to them in simplistic terminology. The American fur trade industry was beginning to blossom under Jefferson in addition to whaling ships, all these professions made their money off of hunting or trapping animals. American Fur Company Did Jefferson oppose when European Amerians hunted and trapped? Cmguy777 (talk) 23:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Jefferson was following the Scottish model of human evolution, which moved from a savage/hunter society to a higher stage of agriculture, and then to a more advanced stage with cities & industry. "Savage" was a technical term. It's interesting to note that Theodore Roosevelt (who strongly dislike Jefferson ) strongly believe that the hunters stage was morally superior to that of the farmers.... TR was a cowboy/hunter/soldier, not a farmer. But TJ was a farmer, and modern scientific agriculture for Jefferson meant a rapid advance in terms of technology, knowledge, and wealth And a superior political morality. We now call that agrarianism. Jefferson distrusted the cities, that third stage of industrialization to him signaled corruption and the retreat from the highest achievements of the agrarian society. Rjensen (talk) 00:15, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Much of the terminology used in the 18th century differed from today and we need secondary sources to analyze what Jefferson meant - on all issues - rather than through our own analysis of primary sources. The term savage for example might have meant no greater disparagement than hunter-gatherer, while it would be appropriate for a man the Indians called the Great Father to reply to them as his children. TFD (talk) 08:31, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @Cmguy777: The other side of the coin to which you refer is already well covered in the section, with more than enough commentary to this effect, as I've pointed out several times now. Your third sentence above appears to be oxymoronic. In any case, there is no coverage as to Jefferson's feelings and views toward the American Indian. Also pointed out to you was Jefferson's terms of endearment, which are just that, where there is plenty of accounts as to how Jefferson actually viewed these peoples. His use of "savage" is in reference to hunting, which btw should dispel your notion that Jefferson saw the Indian as children. This doesn't discount the fact that he viewed Indians as equal in body and mind to that of people of European descent. As with slavery, this topic requires more than a two dimensional view where many factors must be considered. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @Rjensen: Agree. All we need to say to this general effect is that Jefferson had hopes to bring the Indian into the western fold through agriculture and other forms of sedentary life. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: I added information pertaining to Jefferson and his Indian policy. I used the Thomas Jefferson Foundation as a source. There was a catch. The Indian hunting grounds were to be used for European American settlements. Jefferson's agriculture policy apparently only applied to Indians. He never spoke out against European American fur and whaling industries as far as I know. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:32, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @Cmguy777: (Retracted prior statement. It was I who jumped the gun, here.) Your edits look generally okay. Better and more appropriate image, btw. Thanks. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:01, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I added a general introduction to the section which should put it in better perspective with Jefferson's dealings and views. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:22, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

In “Jefferson’s Tardy Constitution”, Jack Lynch wrote in the Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Spring 2007, [8], the following: "Jefferson's [1783 proposed] constitution survives in a rough draft and a fair copy. A version was published in the Richmond Enquirer in 1806, but that was forgotten for decades.

"Some of the most intriguing passages appear in Article 4, "Rights, Private and Public." Jefferson spelled out property rights in detail, writing, for instance, "No lands shall be appropriated until purchased of the Indian native proprietors.” --- TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 20:29, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

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