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Thomas Jefferson And Slavery Essay

1084 words - 4 pages

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 allow him to set his slaves free. Yet he would constantly argued the slaves, or Negros, need to be set free. At times, in order to pay some of his debt, Jefferson would have to part with his slaves. Thomas Jefferson was a big advocate for family unity. He would never sell individual slaves if it meant breaking a family apart. He would sell some slaves to purchase others as a “family” or one team. Thomas Jefferson was between a rock and a hard place, he needed the slaves to keep his head afloat. He would never mistreat his slaves, for he truly thought that all men were indeed created equal.
Thomas Jefferson tried many things to assist slaves that belonged to him. He felt that Americans should not only emancipate them but also educate and train them to be self-sufficient, provide them with necessary materials, and establish a colony in which they could live as free and independent people. (Wilson, 1992) Thomas Jefferson would spend much of his free time ensuring that his slaves received an education. He felt they were as smart as the “white” man and would be able to succeed just as white man did. Slaves that belonged to Jefferson had many traits that would benefit them in the “free” world. There were carpenters, gardeners,...

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