Thomas Jefferson and Slavery

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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.

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