Jefferson Essay

Topics: Black people, Slavery, White people Pages: 3 (956 words) Published: October 13, 2008
Jefferson Essay
Thomas Jefferson played a very important role in the history of the United States. Jefferson is most famously known for writing the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson talked many times about African-Americans in America. Where they equal to white people? How were whites and blacks different? What about slavery? Thomas Jefferson had an opinion on all of these subjects, but much of what Thomas Jefferson said was later contradicted with his own words.

What did Thomas Jefferson mean when he said that all men were equal? Well, many people would agree with what it means today in modern times. Today the statement, all men are created equal means; all men and women whether black, white, tall, short, fat, or skinny were all created equal. That is not necessarily what it meant in the 1700s. Blacks were enslaved and worked hard while wealthy white men did nothing of the sort. Justice Thurgood Marshall said, “The blacks were so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect… and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.” This excerpt shows that in that time blacks were not treated the same as whites and clearly did not have the same rights. Conor Cruise O’Brien’s book confirms this belief as he takes a quote from Thomas Jefferson himself: “It is accepted that the words ‘all men are created equal’ do not, in their literal meaning, apply to women, and were not intended by the Founding Fathers to apply to slaves.” This shows that when Thomas Jefferson talks about all men being created equally he means to say white men.

The meaning of the word expatriation is as follows; to leave one’s native country to live elsewhere (Merriam-Webster). Jefferson wanted to send the blacks that were descendent of the original slaves back to Africa. The deal here was Africa was no longer their native country. This act was known as expatriation. The southern courts believed that slavery violated...
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