Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

  • Submitted By: unique616
  • Date Submitted: 02/18/2010 3:05 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 314
  • Page: 2
  • Views: 2

Thomas Jefferson envisioned a world where everyone had certain inalienable rights "among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" (80). Even though Thomas Jefferson was against slavery and "in 1784 he tried to abolish slavery in the western territories that were being added as states" (Jacobus 77), he was an owner of slaves. I feel position as a slaveholder did not invalidate the Revolutionary War.

"A profligate spender, Jefferson was deeply in debt and had encumbered his slaves by notes and mortgages; he could not free them until he was free of debt, which he never achieved" (Herbert 14). Before the mid 19th century, debtors' prisons were a common way to deal with unpaid debt.

"Historians have pointed out that Jefferson probably had an affair with Sally Hemmings, a mixed-race slave, and fathered children with her" (Jacobus 77). Because of this, I doubt he treated his slaves badly. He probably treated each of them as if they were a part of his family.

Thomas Jefferson, in a way, understood slavery. He considered King George III a cruel and oppressive dictator, similar to some slave owners behaved. He refused to pass laws that were necessary for public good, imposed taxes without consent, forced people to go over sea and be tried for crimes they never committed.

While slavery is wrong is all situations, and Thomas Jefferson knew this, I feel he kept his slaves to avoid going to jail. He treated his slaves like family, and fought hard for their freedom as well as everyone else in the thirteen original colonies.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas. “Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence”. A World of Ideas. 8th ed. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2010. 80-93. Print.

Sloan, Herbert. "Principle and Interest: Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Debt". New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 14–26. Print.

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