"Was Thomas Jefferson a contemptible hypocrite?"
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third American president was not, in any way a hypocrite, and he certainly wasn't a contemptible one. His achievements through his life, his views on slavery, his role as a leader and his personality, are proof that Thomas Jefferson's actions did not contradict his honest word. His obliging temper and his interests in others deserved respect and appreciation. Many people cannot accept that Thomas Jefferson was a good man and an outstanding president, but there are no valid reasons why he should not have been.
It is ridiculous that Jefferson has been named a hypocrite because of his acting against statements written in the Declaration of Independence. Though he did write it, and many of the contents were his ideas and opinions, acting against some of the views stated in the Declaration did not make him a hypocrite. The declaration was written for the country of America and it was agreed to and signed by fifty-seven other Americans. It wasn't made of his own his own personal views, but his interpretation of America's views as a whole. Therefore, whether he acted against it or not, simply cannot prove that Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite.
Many people argue that the most striking way in which Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite was his attitude to slavery. Jefferson was opposed to slavery, yet he kept slaves himself. This does appear to be a hypocritical action, though he has a solid and legitimate reason for this. The slaves, if freed, could not have possible survived on their own or with a different slaveholder, who may not have been so friendly and generous. In Virginia, free black people were illegal , which would have made it even more difficult for them to survive. Jefferson acted for the greater good of the slaves, so this cannot have made him a hypocrite.
As a leader, Thomas Jefferson was consistent with his views and ideas, and...
Bibliography: Ellis, Joseph J. 1997. American Sphinx - The Character of Thomas Jefferson. Vintage Books. New York.
DeGregorio, William A. The Complete Book of US Presidents, (The United States from the Mayflower to Continental Empire, Thomas Jefferson section)
Kindig, Thomas. 2006.‘The Declaration for Independence ' [on-line]. Available world wide web at: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document
Barton, David. 2003. "George Washington, Thomas Jefferson & Slavery in Virginia." [on-line]. Available world wide web at: http://www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detail.php?ResourceID=11,
Please join StudyMode to read the full document