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Liberty News ForumLNF Forums HerePolitical Opinion Page - The Hot Seat › Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States (Read 205 times)
Frank1
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Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Mar 13th, 2019 at 9:46pm
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So for one side of the Great Seal of the United States, Jefferson wanted an image of Hengist and Horsa.

Though we are a nation founded by Englishman, I would think most Americans are more familiar with Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, then with Hengist and Horsa (I learned of them through reading about Tolkien).

Anyways, Hengist and Horsa are a legendary pair of brothers who led the Angles, Saxons and Jutes when they settled in what would be come England (literally "Angle-land") and drove out the Celts.

Just the fact that Jefferson wanted to put them on the Great Seal, shows the importance that the Founder's attributed to their (mostly) English heritage, even after a war against England.

You know, you can read books written as late as the mid-20th century that still implicitly presume an English, or "Anglo-Saxon" character for the American population.  Its really only since the 1960's that the idea of America as an "Anglo-Saxon" nation collapsed and not just with granting civil rights to blacks but with the full acceptance of all non-British U.S. citizens, from Italians and Poles, to Germans and Irish as "fully American."

The image below is from the late Romantic era, 1912, to be specific.  I assume Jefferson would have chosen a more classical image of the brothers.



edited to say: click on image to enlarge
  


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Vypr
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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #1 - Mar 13th, 2019 at 10:53pm
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Frank1 wrote on Mar 13th, 2019 at 9:46pm:
Its really only since the 1960's that the idea of America as an "Anglo-Saxon" nation collapsed and not just with granting civil rights to blacks but with the full acceptance of all non-British U.S. citizens, from Italians and Poles, to Germans and Irish as "fully American."

WTF is your point? Granting civil rights to non-Anglo-Saxon hordes was some kind of error?

You keep posting this shit from time to time thinking you can make some subtle point but it really just comes across as ridiculous.
  

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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #2 - Mar 13th, 2019 at 11:52pm
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Vypr wrote on Mar 13th, 2019 at 10:53pm:
WTF is your point? Granting civil rights to non-Anglo-Saxon hordes was some kind of error?

I'm curious about that as well.
  

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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #3 - Mar 14th, 2019 at 12:38am
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Thomas Jefferson, as brilliant and visionary as he was, did NOT represent all of the Founders. It's instructive that while they accepted his version of the Declaration of Independence, with its lofty rhetoric, he was not very much involved with the actual structure of the resultant nation, the Constitution. He wasn't even in the country at the time, as he was serving as our ambassador to France.

In fact, he was of the opinion that the Constitution, rather than being relatively immutable, should be discarded and recast every 19 years. Fortunately his views on this, and other matters, did not prevail. The amendment process serves as a modification mechanism instead, and it seems to have functioned quite well since Jefferson's day.

So I take his opinions on who should be on our great seal with a great deal of salt.
  

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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #4 - Mar 14th, 2019 at 11:31am
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Vypr wrote on Mar 13th, 2019 at 10:53pm:
WTF is your point? Granting civil rights to non-Anglo-Saxon hordes was some kind of error?

You keep posting this shit from time to time thinking you can make some subtle point but it really just comes across as ridiculous.


I'm sure that's what the Romans thought right before their world collapsed.
  

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Frank1
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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #5 - Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:04pm
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TowardLiberty wrote on Mar 13th, 2019 at 11:52pm:
I'm curious about that as well.


Ok, its fair for you to say this as I accused you of making insinuations with your post about voting rights.

However, I had no alterior motive.  I just find the topic interesting for multiple reasons, not least of which is the relative obscurity of the two figures.  Tolkien always was dismayed about how English history had become obscure even to the English themselves, a Germanic people who loved the legends of Celtic heroes (King Arthur and his Knights) and whose history and language was furthered obscured by the Norman invasion...thus Tolkien's desire to create a "mythology for England."

I also really like the image I posted, it "speaks" to me. 

Not that such an image would have been produced in the 18th century when the Seal was being formulated, if Hengist and Horsa had been put on the Seal in the late 18th century they would have looked more Greco-Roman than Germanic.

I am also surprised to some extent that Jefferson was even aware of the two figures, as he pre-dated the Romantic fascination with the history of the Germanic peoples.  Maybe one reason they were not put on the Seal was an idea that they would be too obscure and too far removed from the thoughts and ideals of 18th century Americans.
  


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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #6 - Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:08pm
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Frank1 wrote on Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:04pm:
I am also surprised to some extent that Jefferson was even aware of the two figures, as he pre-dated the Romantic fascination with the history of the Germanic peoples.

"That their Saxon ancestors had, under this universal law, in like manner left their native wilds and woods in the north of Europe, had possessed themselves of the island of Britain, then less charged with inhabitants, and had established there that system of laws which has so long been the glory and protection of that country. Nor was ever any claim of superiority or dependence asserted over them by that mother country from which they had migrated; and were such a claim made, it is believed that his majesty's subjects in Great Britain have too firm a feeling of the rights derived to them from their ancestors, to bow down the sovereignty of their state before such visionary pretensions." - Thomas Jefferson, Summary View of the Rights of British America

It's interesting trivia, but based on his writings, Jefferson was familiar with British history and used that history in his arguments.
  
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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #7 - Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:12pm
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Vypr wrote on Mar 13th, 2019 at 10:53pm:
WTF is your point? Granting civil rights to non-Anglo-Saxon hordes was some kind of error?

You keep posting this shit from time to time thinking you can make some subtle point but it really just comes across as ridiculous.


Again, I find the whole thing interesting.

It shows how incredibly fast a culture can change, more rapidly than most of us think.

My ancestry is mostly Irish and Catholic and I was born in 1981 in an area where most of the whites were descendants of relatively recent immigrants (late 19th/early 20th century).  I think every single one of my immediate neighbors was Catholic.

Yet I never felt I was in any way not part of the cultural "mainstream" growing up. 

But the fact is, just a few decades prior to my birth Italians would be mowing the lawns of WASPS like Hispanics mow their lawns now.

Then again, as far as my place in contemporary American culture goes I cannot see it as any different than that of the average WASP.  In fact, when I go to a Protestant church I basically am a WASP.  Who could distinguish me from a "true WASP"...?
  


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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #8 - Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:42pm
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Demos wrote on Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:08pm:
It's interesting trivia, but based on his writings, Jefferson was familiar with British history and used that history in his arguments.


Insofar as the word trivia implies insignificance this topic is not trivial to me at all.  I could meditate on it for hours.

As with that image, in the OP I could look at it and meditate on it for probably about as long as I had time available.


  


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Re: Jefferson wanted to put Hengist and Horsa on The Great Seal of the United States
Reply #9 - Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:44pm
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Frank1 wrote on Mar 15th, 2019 at 5:42pm:
Insofar as the word trivia implies insignificance this topic is not trivial to me at all.  I could meditate on it for hours.

But if you meditated more on Jefferson's writings, this wouldn't be all that surprising.
  
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