Corey Robin

It’s Old Home Week in the American media. First there was the welcome back of Abraham Lincoln (and the brouhaha over the Spielberg film). Now Thomas Jefferson is in the news. But where it was Lincoln the emancipator we were hailing earlier in the week, it’s Jefferson the slaveholder who’s now getting all the press.

Yesterday in the New York Times, legal historian Paul Finkelman wrote a bruising attack on Jefferson titled “The Monster of Monticello.” This was a followup to some of the controversy surrounding the publication of Henry Wiencek’s new book on Jefferson, which makes Jefferson’s slaveholding central to his legacy.

Finkelman’s essay has already prompted some pushback. David Post at The Volokh Conspiracy (h/t Samir Chopra) wrote:

Jefferson, Finkelman tells us, was not a “particularly kind” slave-master; he sometimes “punished slaves by selling them away from their families and friends, a retaliation that…

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mykeystrokes.com

President Obama’s election and recent re-election have apparently fueled a gun-buying craze in this country unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.

USA Today reported this week:

“For the second consecutive year, prospective gun buyers joined Black Friday shoppers in record numbers as firearms dealers swamped the F.B.I. with required buyer background check requests. The F.B.I. fielded 154,873 calls, a roughly 20 percent increase from last year’s previous one-day record of 129,166, according to bureau records. The requests came in such volume throughout the day that F.B.I. call centers experienced two brief outages — one of 18 minutes and one for 14 minutes — during the busy day, bureau spokesman Stephen Fischer said Monday.”

As the report made clear:

“The F.B.I. does not track actual gun sales. But the number of firearms sold Friday is likely higher because multiple firearms can be included in one transaction by a single…

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