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Essay on Analysis of Thomas Jefferson's From Notes on the State of Virginia

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In “From Notes on the State of Virginia,” Thomas Jefferson includes some proposed alterations to the Virginia Laws and discusses some differences between blacks and whites. First, he describes one of the proposed revisions regarding slavery: All slaves born after the enactment of the alteration will be freed; they will live with their parents till a certain age, then be nurtured at public disbursement and sent out of state to form their own colonies such that intermarrying and conflicts can be avoided between blacks and whites. Next, Jefferson indicates some physical differences between blacks and whites, including skin color, hair, amount of exudates secreted by kidneys and glands, level of transpiration, structure in the pulmonary organ, amount of sleep, and calmness when facing dangers. As he notes, these differences point out that blacks are inferior to whites in terms of their bodies. In addition, Jefferson also asserts that the blacks’ reasoning and imagination are much inferior to the whites’ after he observes some of the art work and writings from the blacks. As a result, based on his observation, he draws a conclusion that whites are superior to blacks in terms of both body and mind. However, Jefferson’s use of hasty generalization, begging the question, and insulting language in his analysis is a huge flaw which ruins the credibility of his argument and offenses his readers.
Throughout the excerpt, Jefferson uses hasty generalization to support his points. Instead of providing readers with evidence and statistics that fit the whole population, Jefferson uses generalization without providing proper evidence or statistics to sway readers to his points; this not only discourages readers from believing in his argument, but...


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...ootan are attracted to black women, Jefferson may offense some readers. As a result, using insulting language can anger and offense readers that they may stop reading Jefferson’s work.
Jefferson’s use of strategies and language is ineffective in making his points and persuading readers of his arguments. Using hasty generalization, begging the question, and insulting language in his analysis is a huge flaw which lessens the credibility of his argument and offenses his readers. Jefferson should use other argumentative strategies and prevent himself from using insulting language in order to convince readers of his arguments.



Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas. “From Notes on the State of Virginia.” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, Bonnie Lisle. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 378-383.


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