Historians don't think of Jefferson that way any more. He is recognized as a moral failure, a man clever enough to know the evil he lived with and too craven to deal with it. A man who sired children with his slave and left them to history's discovery.
America is very, very slowly beginning to look at slavery. Peter Birkenhead's Salon article is a minor marker of this process. It has a number of damning quotes from today's GOP, but the best of all comes from Minnesota's own Michele ...
Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable? But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” –U.S. Rep. Michele BachmannOh Michele, you are a classic.
For much more, see TNC (his book is on the way).