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Mary Ellen Sandahl

Hope I won't offend if I say that calling a landed, educated 18th C-early 19th C person like Jefferson, or Washington, or many of the other Founders, "arrogant" is IMO a sort of temporal fumble. It's a word we apply from our current POV, but the characteristics that we thus disapprove - for instance, ignoring the hard labor of one's farmworkers - describes the attitude of landowners going back to ancient times. It was their normal, bred-in-the-bone stance.

People like Jefferson and Washington, who stood astride a deep historical faultline, are always complicated and hard to evaluate fairly.

Anyway, the stuff about his farm experimentation is very interesting! That was a period of theoretical ferment in land-use and agricultural practices, it seems. The Enclosure Movement, with all its political ramifications, was still going strong in England, of which Jefferson was surely aware. It, too, was a manifestation of the autocratic tendencies inherent in big landownership.

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