Bill Moyers: The Difficult Truths Behind Independence Day
Bill Moyers Essay: The Difficult Truths Behind Independence Day June 29, 2012
In this video essay, Bill reflects on the origins and lessons of Independence Day. We should remember, he says, that behind this Fourth of July holiday are human beings, like Thomas Jefferson, who were as flawed and conflicted as they were inspired, who espoused great humanistic ideals while behaving with reprehensible racial discrimination. That conflict — between what we know and how we live — is still a struggle in contemporary politics and society.
Especially in comparison to the kings and princes of Europe. Think Marie Antoinette and her French husband's vast wealth.
In his 80s, Jefferson had to have a lottery of his property in order to meet his debts.
He was probably a hypocrite and probably really did love his slave girl. But he could not afford to give his slaves freedom because he owed so much money. He needed their free labor to make ends meet. But this does not excuse him. I just don't believe he was considered wealthy in his time.
Jefferson would probably be considered middle class today.