Thomas Jefferson's Views of Race and Government

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Prompt: How did Jefferson’s views on government and race morph over time?

Over time Jefferson’s views on government and race drastically changed, from outright denouncing slavery as morally incorrect to endorsing the expansion of slavery in the west, Jefferson due to various reasons had fluctuating views on issues such as equality of races and governmental structure, primarily because of economic, social, and geographic causes. Both economic climates of the nation as well as Jefferson’s personal debts greatly influenced his views on government and race, more prominently race. Earlier in Jefferson’s life, before he had acquired massive amounts of debt due to creditors, Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal and that the emancipation of slaves was necessary, these views were extended to both blacks and Indians. But as America’s economy continued to grow more and more dependent on slave labor so did Jefferson. Due to Jefferson’s more extravagant way of life his personal debt mounted and he found that slaves were vital to the continuation of his excessive consumption of luxury goods. As Jefferson grew older and older and his debt grew more and more massive he began having a very different outlook on racial equality changed. He saw blacks as having lesser intellectual aptitude than whites and made no attempts at trying to educate his slaves. Jefferson’s views on government changed due to economic causes as well. During the revolution and prior to his presidency Jefferson believed in states’ rights over a strong federal government, as well as a small federal budget. However, during his presidency he reversed this policy because of the economic trading war with France and Great Britain. Jefferson’s views on both race and government were clearly heavily influenced by economics. In addition to an influential economic climate, the social climate to a great extent influenced Jefferson’s views on race and government. Jefferson, a prominent leader in the...
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