James Callender, a transplanted Scotsman, started the Hemings rumor in September 1802 after Jefferson turned him down for a patronage job. (…)
DNA testing on Sally Hemings’s descendants in 1998 proved that Jefferson was not the father of one of her older children, but that someone who had the Jefferson Y chromosome fathered her youngest child, Eston. The trouble is, there were 26 men of romping age who carried that chromosome and who could have been the father. (…)
Jefferson’s enemies were pointing out the silliness of “all men are created equal” before the Hemings rumor even started. Jefferson didn’t believe all men were created equal any more than Prof. Finkelman does, and to handcuff Jefferson to those five words is profoundly stupid.
The Declaration of Independence explains to George III why the colonists wanted out. It starts with rhetorical throat-clearing in which the signers say they are the King’s equals and have the right to leave.
When the founders got around to writing the rules for actually running their new country—either in the Articles or the Constitution—they didn’t put in any gauzy bunk about equality.