top-rated free essay

Thomas Jefferson and his Slave Dilemma

By LynLew4991 Nov 13, 2013 714 Words
Thomas Jefferson and his Slave Dilemma
During the time of Thomas Jefferson, slavery was a difficult topic of discussion. Speaking to Thomas Jefferson about this would have probably gave him feelings of awkwardness and maybe guilt. Being a major defender of the American planter and being a major leader of America, Thomas Jefferson opposed the continuation of slavery for reasons of the looming notions of slave rebellion, yet he did not believe slavery should be abolished immediately nor should the slaves live in America for long should they become emancipated.

As a slave-owner himself, Thomas Jefferson said to have studied Blacks. While he made the conclusion that there is much more information needed, he once made the argument that Blacks are intellectually inferior. He said that while Blacks have memories just as sharp as Whites, they do not have the calculative or creative talents as Whites. Thomas Jefferson considers Native Americans to be more worthy of admiration than Blacks, deeming them a more capable race of people. In spite of these negative thoughts, Thomas Jefferson still believes Blacks to be an innocent race. In fact, he doesn’t approve of the agony some other slave owners would deal upon their slaves. With such thoughts of the Black race in mind, what does Jefferson want this race to do? Jefferson essentially wishes the Black race the best despite apparently not having the intellectual capacity his race has; he wants the Blacks to comprehend the concept of work since work is the essential means to live.

Being an innocent race to his eyes, Jefferson believes slavery to be a detrimental concept. He had even made a theory that slavery would not last for very long. Being a wealthy planter, Jefferson comprehends the reason for slavery- the reason being that it yielded economic benefit and was a staple for the construction of America. Conversely, Jefferson had known of the evils of slavery. Slaves being battered, whipped, raped, mutilated, executed, etc. ought to have occupied the mind of the likes of Jefferson. And the notions of a rebellion sound all the more terrible for the American planter. Even if slaves are emancipated, he did not believe that the Black and White race would be able to co-exist well in America. Should Blacks become free, Jefferson would have wanted them to be shipped back to Africa or the Caribbean. These thoughts could be the reasons for his opposition to the continuation of slavery.

As far as this has went, how much merit does Thomas Jefferson has to qualify a controversial subject as he did, especially being a slave owner himself? This is for anyone’s deduction. Being a founding father, president (dubbed the Negro President), intellectual, writer of one of the most famous and important documents of American History, slave owner, lover of slave women, father of illegitimate children, and arguably deist, what outweighs what? Despite his thoughts and notions of Blacks compared to Whites, he did believe that abolition was a necessity for America to prosper. This shows that while slavery was rampant in these days of old, there was hope that the American mindset would change soon enough. The epic degree of credibility it actually had for a wealthy slave owner revered by many to say that slavery is not right and not good for America should have cause a culture shock. This is one of America’s iconic heroes. Such a stance against what was at that time America’s way might have ruined Jefferson’s reputation. No wonder Jefferson did not wanted his honest viewpoints published.

Jefferson was neither the first nor the last to have these viewpoints. Abraham Lincoln, in particular, had similar viewpoints. Despite having a contradicting viewpoint that yield a dimension of hypocrisy on Jefferson’s part, the most important idea out of this is his thought as an American Intellectual that slavery should not last. He said what he thought of Blacks and he said they should go back from where they came, but after all this, he was said to give some of his slaves permission to “escape” his estate while emancipating a few other slaves. If anything was gained from this, Jefferson’s thoughts on slavery was a step in the sequence that led to the abolition of slavery.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Thomas Jefferson

    ...Thomas Jefferson and His Effect on America Thomas Jefferson possessed one of the greatest leading minds of colonial America. Literate in political theory, scientific farming, natural history, and architecture, Thomas Jefferson personified the optimistic spirit of Enlightenment thinking. Thomas Jefferson proved to be one of the major forces i...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson

    ..."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 Jeff...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson

    ...Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 (April 2, 1743 O.S.) – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia and then serv...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson

    ...action aligns with that party. Decisions and Actions Democratic-Republican Party’s Beliefs and Ideals Federalist Party’s Beliefs and Ideals The Size of the government was reduced The decision was supported by Democratic and Republican as they wanted a smaller government Federalist didn’t support his decision as they wanted a larger...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson

    ...Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was an American founding father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States. At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental congress, representing Virginia and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia. Just after the war ...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson & George Washington

    ...Both Washington and Jefferson were raised in Virginia, a geographic part of the country in which slavery had been an entrenched cultural institution. In fact, at the time of the Founders, the morality of slavery had rarely been questioned; and in the 150 years following the introduction of slavery into Virginia by Dutch traders in 1619, there ha...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson and His Views on Government

    ...Thomas Jefferson was born in what is now Albermarle County, Virginia on April 13, 1743. Jefferson was educated at the College of William and Mary and then went on to study law with George Wythe. Thomas Jefferson is most well known for his part in writing the Declaration of Independence and for being our third president. Thomas Jefferson has cont...

    Read More
  • Thomas Jefferson

    ...Lucero Flores Mr. Craig English III Honors 11/05/12 Thomas Jefferson; from nothing to America “Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.” (Jefferson) Thomas Jefferson, one of the...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.