Thomas Jefferson: A Man of Two Faces
THESIS: Thomas 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.
"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 plantation owner, politician, and verbal defender of slaves who would continuously contradict himself about his beliefs on slaves. A part of him would comment about protecting slaves, and another part would say slaves are simply property not human beings. Many people believed saw slaves as just property even though they talk, walk, breathe, and carry out all other essential human functions. Slaves are no different than Thomas Jefferson and the other plantation owners, their skin may be an altered color than theirs, but that does not allow a person to be treated in the matter slaves were.
Jefferson owned 15,000 acres of prosperous plantations and hundreds of slaves to work his land every single day and night. Like all plantation workers Jefferson, housed both white and black workers. He seemed to have more exclusive relations with the slaves that tended to his personal needs such as those who cooked, waited on tables, washed, wove the cloth, and made the clothing for the house. Including these slaves was a young woman who shared the same bed...