American Sphinx Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

Joseph Ellis
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 110 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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• Jefferson is probably the most beloved and admired of American presidents and is claimed by opposing groups and individuals.

• Jefferson inherits Sally Hemings from the family of his wife, Martha Wales.
• John Wales, Martha Wales' father, is reported to be the father of Sally Hemings.

• Jefferson is frequently accused of having a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings and fathering several of her seven children.
• Ellis argues against presentism, which is the tendency to apply current social and ethical standards to the behavior of past eras.

• Judging Jefferson's as a slave owner and possible relationship with Sally Hemings is not presentism, because it is not uncommon of people of Jefferson's time to oppose slavery and have sexual relationships with slaves.
• Initially Ellis believes that it would have been out of character for Jefferson to have had a relationship with Hemings but changes his position when DNA evidence proves...

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