For generations, many people have known that Jefferson fathered children by Sally Hemings, ... The much publicized results of DNA tests several years ago simply corroborate what had been common knowledge. Over the years, certain highly regarded scholars defended Jefferson's 'purity,' categorically denying claims that there had been a sexual relationship between master and slave. Since those 'revelations,' some of them have retreated from their former position of 'It didn't happen' only to insist that the affair between Hemings and Jefferson was an exception. But in fact such affairs, far from being exceptional, were fairly commonplace. That's part of what I wanted to convey by 'the American way' of the title.