· Why do you think the accusations made by Callender were ignored during Jefferson’s lifetime and later by historians? Why do you think Madison Hemings’ assertions were ignored?
· Why do you think Callender’s claims failed to hurt Jefferson politically? Do you think a similar scandal would hurt an American president or elected leader today? Why or why not?
· Based on Madison Hemings’ family history, how common was racial intermixing in 18th and 19th century Virginia?
· According to Eric Foner, how and why has the work of Annette Gordon-Reed fueled a controversy over the Hemings-Jefferson relationship?
· Should his relationship with Sally Hemings influence how we view Jefferson and his place in American history? If no, why not? If yes, how should they influence how we view him?
The Republicans recruited Callendar in the first place to attack the Federalists in the upcoming election of 1800. At the time, everybody thought of Thomas Jefferson as a decent guy who could never do something bad to the people. It seemed to the public that Callendar was attempting to bring down a decent man for reasons that could not be confirmed at the time. Callend’s and Maddison’s claims were both dismissed. Maddison’s claims were dismissed, as were Callendar’s, since there was no evidence linking him to the birth of these children by one of his slaves.