Thomas Jefferson is a man who really needs no introduction. He was recognized as a luminous writer who was appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence. Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Jefferson owned many slaves that worked for him. He would often even sell his slaves to buy others. Why then would he write in the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal”? Is it possible that Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite and only wrote what the population wanted to see? Did Thomas Jefferson enjoy owning slaves just as his other wealthy peers did? Neither one of those is true. Thomas Jefferson thought slavery was morally wrong and he thought that it should be abolished. We will take a closer look at Thomas Jefferson and his days of slave ownership. We will discuss how Jefferson would come to own slaves, how he tried to help them overcome slavery, and what he would do while in office or politics to set them free. Many citizens failed to realize that Jefferson was a slave owner by inheritance and the Virginia law would prohibit him to setting them free. With Jefferson owning land, he needed cheap labor to work his land to make it as productive as it could be. Without slave labor he would not have been able to afford his home, land and lifestyle. During that era, owning slaves was an economic decision. See without slaves, poor whites would have to provide the cheap labor so necessary for the cultivation of tobacco and rice, and their low wages would preclude their ever owning property. (Kennedy, 2010) Thomas Jefferson’s father owned many slaves that would be passed down to him once his father died. Throughout his life, Jefferson was straddled with a level of debt that would not all... ... middle of paper ... ...zed them to the best of their abilities. He did in fact write, “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. He was known for his strive and dedication to change the way people viewed slavery. It was a struggle throughout his tenure in office to abolish slavery, but as history shows, it set the stage for many other of our leaders to build on. Works Cited Kennedy, D. M. (2010). The American Pageant. Boston: Wadsworth. Post, D. G. (2001, 07 02). Temple Universtiy. Retrieved 07 07, 2010, from Words Fitly Spoken: http://www.temple.edu/lawschool/dpost/slavery.PDF Welling, G. M. (2005, 11 07). From Revolution to Reconstruction . Retrieved 07 07, 2010, from From Revolution to Reconstruction : http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/tj3/writings/slavery.htm Wilson, D. L. (1992). Thomas Jefferson and the Character Issue. The Atlantic Monthly , 270 (5), 57-74.
There are many contradictions pertaining to slavery, which lasted for approximately 245 years. In Woody Holton’s “Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era”, Holton points out the multiple instances where one would find discrepancies that lie in the interests of slaveowners, noble figures, and slaves that lived throughout the United States. Holton exemplifies this hostility in forms of documents that further specify and support his claim.
"We are told by his biographers, and apologists, that he hated slavery with a passion. But since he participated fully in the plantation slavery system, buying and selling slaves on occasion, and because he could not bring himself to free his own slaves, who often numbered upward of 200-250 on his plantations, one has to either question the verity of this passion or speculate that it was merely the abstract idea of slavery that he hated." (Smedley 189) Thomas Jefferson was always aware of the fact that slavery would soon one day be abolished but he made no efforts during his lifetime to accelerate the process. Jefferson was a wealthy plantation owner and politician that would speak out about slavery on a regular basis but would still employ slaves for his own use.
Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder and the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. Many will assume he was a racist and pro-slavery, but unless one were to look deeper into why Jefferson would even own slaves, this assumption is very believable. I would say Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite, but he was justified hypocrite. As I think about why would Jefferson would want the abolishing of slaves, but on the other hand own slaves, it seems a bit hypocritical, but we must take a moment and really think was his hypocrisy justifiable? During this era nearly every successful white man owned slaves, so why would Jefferson not own them himself? Slaves were not just considered property, but they had valuable characteristics about them. They
Roediger, David and Blatt, Martin H. The Meaning of Slavery in the North. JStor. 1998. Vol. 18
Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner himself, originally wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all slaves should coexist with society, but he ended up revoking his opinions. Notes on the State of Virginia, written by Thomas Jefferson was a story that had conflicting ideas about African Americans and their role in society. During Jefferson’s time period, whites often regarded African Americans simply as slaves, or even a different species altogether. Slaves were regarded as culturally, physically, and mentally different from their white counterparts. Americans started to become dependent on their slaves, which made them want to keep their dominant relationship even more than before. Jefferson believed
The controversies surrounding slavery have been established in many societies worldwide for centuries. In past generations, although slavery did exists and was tolerated, it was certainly very questionable,” ethically“. Today, the morality of such an act would not only be unimaginable, but would also be morally wrong. As things change over the course of history we seek to not only explain why things happen, but as well to understand why they do. For this reason, we will look further into how slavery has evolved throughout History in American society, as well as the impacts that it has had.
Clearly, he had distinctly different thoughts on slavery, or so it would seem. in order to support his aristocratic lifestyle, he needed slaves to perform a variety of actions in and around the Monticello plantation. These actions of owning slaves seemed to have conflicted with what he told the public, though perhaps he was simply trying to please the mental image people of the North had of him by telling them he thought slavery should be removed from society. Many in the North half of America viewed slavery as wrong and inappropriate, while many in South half believed slavery was a necessity to the economic success of America. Deciphering what Jefferson truly believed about slavery can be difficult due to the fact that he owned slaves throughout his life. People sometimes wonder whether he was trying to please the populous, or if he honestly thought slavery was wrong and needed to be
He wrote many times that salve ownership was directly against one’s personal and God given freedoms and liberties. On the contrary, he owned slaves and quite a few at that. Naturally, people are quick to label Mr. Jefferson a hypocrite because of this. But once you look deeper into Jefferson’s situation and his life you see some complications he would quickly run into if he were to release his slaves. During his lifetime, Jefferson was in a lot of debt and his slaves were his property. So his slaves acted as collateral to his debt. If he was to release his slaves then he would have run into some pretty heavy financial problems. I think that Jefferson had a big realization about deserved freedom for all humans but by the time he realized all of this it was too late. He already had an established life and if were to give it all up because of his realizations he would have been ruining his own life. He knew that he couldn’t do that to himself or his family. I don’t think we can stamp hypocrisy onto Mr. Jefferson. His heart was in the right place I think he might have just been too scared to completely give up his life for his beliefs because he knew what the consequences would
After the American Revolution, slavery began to decrease in the North, just as it was becoming more popular in the South. By the turn of the century, seven of the most Northern states had abolished slavery. During this time, a surge of democratic reform swept the North to the West, and there were demands for political equality, economic and social advances for all Americans. Northerners said that slavery revoked the human right of being a free person and when new territories became available i...
When one thinks of slavery, they may consider chains holding captives, beaten into submission, and forced to work indefinitely for no money. The other thing that often comes to mind? Stereotypical African slaves, shipped to America in the seventeenth century. The kind of slavery that was outlawed by the 18th amendment, nearly a century and a half ago. As author of Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People, Kevin Bales, states, the stereotypes surrounding slavery often confuse and blur the reality of slavery. Although slavery surely consists of physical chains, beatings, and forced labor, there is much more depth to the issue, making slavery much more complex today than ever before.
Slavery was the core of the North and South’s conflict. Slavery has existed in the New World since the seventeenth century prior to it being exclusive to race. During those times there were few social and political concerns about slavery. Initially, slaves were considered indentured servants who will eventually be set free after paying their debt(s) to the owner. In some cases, the owners were African with white servants. However, over time the slavery became exclusive to Africans and was no limited to a specific timeframe, but life. In addition, the treatment of slaves worsens from the Atlantic Slave trade to th...
The American Revolution was a “light at the end of the tunnel” for slaves, or at least some. African Americans played a huge part in the war for both sides. Lord Dunmore, a governor of Virginia, promised freedom to any slave that enlisted into the British army. Colonists’ previously denied enlistment to African American’s because of the response of the South, but hesitantly changed their minds in fear of slaves rebelling against them. The north had become to despise slavery and wanted it gone. On the contrary, the booming cash crops of the south were making huge profits for landowners, making slavery widely popular. After the war, slaves began to petition the government for their freedom using the ideas of the Declaration of Independence,” including the idea of natural rights and the notion that government rested on the consent of the governed.” (Keene 122). The north began to fr...
The term slave is defined as a person held in servitude as the chattel of another, or one that is completely passive to a dominating influence. The most well known cases of slavery occurred during the settling of the United States of America. From 1619 until July 1st 1928 slavery was allowed within our country. Slavery abolitionists attempted to end slavery, which at some point; they were successful at doing so. This paper will take the reader a lot of different directions, it will look at slavery in a legal aspect along the lines of the constitution and the thirteenth amendment, and it will also discuss how abolitionists tried to end slavery. This paper will also discuss how slaves were being taken away from their families and how their lives were affected after.
Slavery has been a part of human practices for centuries and dates back to the world’s ancient civilizations. In order for us to recognize modern day slavery we must take a look and understand slavery in the American south before the 1860’s, also known as antebellum slavery. Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines a slave as, “a man who is by law deprived of his liberty for life, and becomes the property of another” (B.J.R, pg. 479). In the period of antebellum slavery, African Americans were enslaved on small farms, large plantations, in cities and towns, homes, out on fields, industries and transportation. By law, slaves were the perso...