Jefferson's Effects of Slavery

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Slave Pages: 2 (407 words) Published: April 27, 2005
Effects of Slavery

There are many concepts which are deemed important to this class. After much consideration, I chose to focus on the effects of slavery. In Query XVIII, Thomas Jefferson discusses the effects of slavery. It is important to put one's self in the place of Jefferson at the time of observations. Jefferson illustrates the effects that slavery has on the owner as well as the slave.

Jefferson redefines slavery in his query. "The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other." (495) He illustrates how witnessing the afore mentioned actions negatively affects children. "Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal." (495) Jefferson is under the impression that slavery leads to bad manners to say the least. The children will see this and think that that is how you treat a slave; the process will never stop. Jefferson does not think that we, as humans, have the power to remain moral after having witnessed such abuse. "The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances." (495,496) Jefferson goes on to say that the people who allow this treatment of one half of the citizens to trample on the other half are responsible for the moral decline of the nation. These horrific actions will create enemies and destroy the "amor patriae" of people.

Jefferson tries to demonstrate the effects that slavery has on the slaves themselves. It is apparent that he is not sure if the slaves are actual people that go to heaven but I do not think he is willing to risk that they are not in the eyes of God. "For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another. . ." (496) Jefferson does say "if" as a precaution. He tells that slavery forces the slaves to...
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