Thomas Jefferson: Hero Or Hypocrite? Essay

1521 words - 6 pages

During the 18th Century America was dealing with independence from Europe and trying to establish them as a strong country. As far as government goes, a monarchal government was not in question. Many people saw great opportunity to step up and contribute ideas that will make America into the country of preference. One of these men was 3rd president and member of the original founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson. While most Americans view Thomas Jefferson as an upstanding and honorable man, he was plagued with the moral contradiction of having fathered children with one of his slaves Sally Heming’s and as a result spurred a great deal of controversy. As a result of his action’s Jefferson’s virtuous demeanor is questioned and shows how hypocritical he is.
Peter Jefferson, a planter turned legislature in the Virginia House of Burgesses and Jane Randolph, daughter of a rich distinguished Virginia family are the parents of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was born April 3 1743, at Shadwell, his family farm in Albemarle County Virginia. Growing up he was taught discipline and self-perseverance. His father taught him how to read, write and also how to do a numerous amount of outdoor activities. However he soon had to put his child behavior behind him and without warning take over being the man of the household. 1757 Thomas Jefferson, is 14 and has to faces the death of his father. With being the oldest male Thomas Jefferson had to now take responsibilities over his younger siblings. Unable to enjoy his youth like he used to Jefferson found satisfaction in horseback riding playing his instruments and taking walks in the company of his sister Jane.
Like most young men in this time he attended private schools and was provided with the best tutors where he studied several languages. Education became Jefferson’s top priority. In 1760 he enrolled at the college of William and Mary located in Williamsburg Virginia. “Jefferson often referred to his college town as devilsburg.” When most young men where out drinking Jefferson was preferred to be in his books studying. It’s no surprise that he excelled in such subjects as calculus, Greek, Spanish, grammar, and classical literature. William and Mary granted him an honorary degree in 1782. After college Jefferson went on to study law with George Wythe. He practiced law from 1761 to 1774.
Thomas Jefferson did not believe in racial equality, and thought that blacks were intellectually inferior. However in one of the most important documents in American history is the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson himself, he says ”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by there creator...” Jefferson knew that his ownership of slaves contradicted his principles. What Jefferson wanted most was for slaves to one day be free, he wanted them to go back to Africa. He refused to grant freedom to his own slaves because of their significances to his...

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