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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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4月13日は誰の誕生日?

 
別に狙った訳ではないのですが、ちょうど4月13日はトマス・ジェファーソンの誕生日だったそうです。そのためかニューヨークタイムズに関連したエッセイが載っていました。1945年にルーズベルト大統領が制定したジェーファーソンの誕生日に合わせたJefferson's Dayにルーズベルト大統領とトルーマン副大統領が準備していたスピーチにまつわるものです。残念ながらルーズベルト大統領が前日に帰らぬ人になったため幻のスピーチになってしまったとか。

Their addresses in honor of Thomas Jefferson remind us that it is possible to cultivate optimism in times of crisis.
By Kurt Graham
Dr. Graham is the director of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
April 12, 2020

このエッセイでも、奴隷所有者としてのジェファーソンを振り返る価値について触れています。独立宣言で立派なことを言っているだけに余計偽善性が浮き立ちます。

Today we might question why the two leaders would honor Jefferson at all. Seen through the long lens of racial injustice, the image of the slave-owning master of Monticello strikes us as something less than a declaration of independence and more like a portrait of hypocrisy, a view of a man whose pursuit of happiness was based on his ability to command the life and liberty of others.

欠点があるために全否定しては過去を現在に活かせないとして、ルーズベルトとトルーマンがどのような点をジェファーソンに見出していたのかを確認するのがこのエッセイの主眼です。ルーズベルトは貴族的な面、トルーマンが農民としての面を見出していて、どちらもアメリカに不可欠な点だと作者はみなしているようです。

There is no way to justify or explain away the inconsistencies of our revolutionary heritage and the indelible stain of slavery. But to dismiss that legacy is to deny the power of the past, even a flawed one, to inform and propel the present. More than any of his fellow revolutionaries, Jefferson was possessed of an intellectual flexibility that makes him useful to every era

The leaders of the soon-to-be victorious nation formulated two very different Jeffersons: Roosevelt saw an aristocrat; Truman saw a farmer. Roosevelt’s Jefferson was a man of cosmopolitan breadth, a leader who “thought in terms of the morrow as well as the day” — a man who, like Roosevelt himself, was patrician by birth but instinctively of the people.

ジェファーソンの時代も感染症に無縁ではなかったようで、特に1793年フィラデルフィアの黄熱病では住民の十人に一人が命を落としたそうです。こちらの日本語の記事がそのあたりのことが詳しかったです。


その黄熱病に対してどのようにジェファーソンが対応したかという下記の記事はとても面白かったです。トルーマンの言う農民を理想としたジェファーソンが出ています。

Jefferson's experience with the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 reinforced his dislike of cities and shaped a radical plan for the development of a new nation that even included his concept of urban design.
CLAY JENKINSON, EDITOR-AT-LARGE   |   APRIL 1, 2020   |  ANALYSIS

Thomas Jefferson was not only the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, but also an agrarian visionary who wanted America to be a nation of small family farms. Jefferson’s distaste for cities is well known. He called them “pestilential to the morals, the health, and the liberties of man.” To his closest friend, James Madison, he wrote in 1787, the year of the American Constitution, “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as in Europe.”

From his disciplined reading of the Latin and Greek classics, Jefferson derived his belief that the ideal citizen of a republic was a modest family farmer living on the land, growing his own food, and providing his own shelter and clothing. Since this farmer depended on no other person or institution for his livelihood, he was truly free. His relations with the state were entirely voluntary rather than necessary. City dwellers, by contrast, could not grow their own food. By living away from the fecundity of nature, they were dependent on others for food, shelter, clothing and employment. This made them less free. But “those who labor in the earth,” Jefferson wrote, “are the chosen people of God.”

ジェファーソンの構想を具体化した街も後に生まれたそうです。

Later, in a letter to his French friend Constantin Volney, Jefferson outlined his visionary plan for future town planning: “the yellow fever …is generated only in low close, and ill-cleansed parts of a town,” he wrote. “I have supposed it practicable to prevent it’s generation by building our cities on a more open plan. take for instance the chequer board for a plan. let the black squares only be building squares, and the white ones be left open, in turf & trees. every square of houses will be surrounded by four open squares, & every house will front an open square. the atmosphere of such a town would be like that of the country, insusceptible of the miasmata which produce yellow fever. I have accordingly proposed that the enlargements of the city of New Orleans … shall be on this plan.”

In Jefferson’s vision, every other square (or block) of future towns and cities would be permanent grass or parkland. This would give everyone healthier air, more privacy, ground on which to plant vegetable gardens, and social distance. Jefferson’s idea was to ruralize the city, dedicating half of each city to open space, but so evenly distributed through the community that nobody would ever be confined to an urban jungle.

結論部分では都市を問題視しながらも、都市を好んでいた側面も取り上げています。文化・芸術に精通していたジェーファソンはフィラデルフィアの生活は満足したものだったようです。

For all of his anti-urban bias and pronouncements, Thomas Jefferson loved cities. In this, as in so many other ways, he was a man of paradox. He thrived during his five-year residency in Paris (1784-89), and he regarded his years in Philadelphia, first as secretary of state and later as vice president, as among the most satisfying of his life. The home of the American Philosophical Society and the Library Company, Philadelphia was then the cultural capital of the United States. 

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