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Thomas Jefferson

             Born in Virginia, 1743, to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph, Thomas Jefferson became a philosopher, a politician and the third President of the United States of America. Jefferson was a lifelong owner of slaves although he helped to declare, "all men are created equal" when writing the "Declaration of Independence." Jefferson felt that slavery was cruel and degrading. Jefferson also condemned slavery as economically unwise as well as morally wrong. He states that it is a "perpetual exercise" (pg. 214) brought on as a product of imitation through the generations. Jefferson was a believer that slavery could be abolished if Congress had sufficient power of the states to declare all men free. Yet he was an advocate of states' rights and he opposed the kind of centralized power that would be required to end slavery by legal action. However, Jefferson's belief that the differences in color and his observations of the blacks seemingly lack of equal faculty would cause a severe obstacle in their emancipation. According to the Portable Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson expressed in the "Notes on the State of Virginia" his observations of blacks or African-Americans as being "inferior to the whites in both the body and mind" (pg. 192-193), and that "nature has been less bountiful to them in the endowments of the head" (pg. 191). Jefferson also felt that it was necessary in the American society that freed slaves needed to be removed beyond the reach of "mixture" into the populace (pg. 193). To support this theory he explains that when the Romans would free their slaves, the slaves would be let back into society and mix with the populace however this was made possible because at that time the slaves were "white" making them easier to blend in. Jefferson felt that the blacks were incapable of colonizing on their own without first being educated and then heavily assisted after being freed. Jefferson proposed that the "whites" should do this however Jefferson also expressed that in order to do this it would take time else the hatred among the different races would inevitably bring an end to one or the other.

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