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Thomas Jefferson's view on slavery - Research Paper Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Thomas Jefferson's View on Slavery Thomas Jefferson was the third American president. His term lasted from 1801 to 1809. Born in 1743, he grew up in Virginia at a period when slavery had existed for almost 75 years. Jefferson grew up in a plantation in Virginia with enslaved workers…
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Thomas Jeffersons view on slavery
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Download file to see previous pages In his life, Jefferson appears to have contradicted his writing, views, deeds and thoughts on the issue of slavery (Bernstein 56). Jefferson as an opponent against slavery As a young legislator and president, Jefferson took actions that he thought would aid in ending slavery. As a young legislator in Virginia, he had tried to advocate the private land owners to free their slaves. This was, however, unsuccessful as private land owners viewed this as a way towards economic downfall. They used slaves as cheap labor in their plantations and thus, if they had supported Jefferson in his advocacy for slavery end, they would have suffered economically. Although he failed in his advocacy for slavery abolishment by private land owners, Jefferson later returned to draft a bill barring freed blacks from staying in Virginia. He drafted a Virginia law prohibiting the importation of enslaved blacks into the state (Zinn 120). He was successful in the passage of this bill. Nevertheless, it is viewed that the private land owners in his state passed the bill to raise the price of slaves who were already their captives. In 1784, Jefferson forwarded a proposal to ban slavery in the newly created territories of the northwest. As the principal author of the land ordinance of 1784, he called for an end to slavery and involuntary servitude in these territories. Jefferson wanted a line to be drawn depicting the north and south at which slavery should not be extended westwards of the impassable line. This bill, however, was defeated by a single vote. Jefferson also proposed in the mid 1770s for a means through which those born into slavery could be freed. He referred to this as gradual emancipation by which after a certain date, those who were born into slavery became freed. In his advocacy for gradual emancipation of slaves, Jefferson wanted slaves to be resettled out of the United States, or they be returned to Africa (Spahn 65). He believed that once slaves were freed, the oppression they had suffered under their masters would breed hatred for their masters. He saw to it that the slaves would instigate violence on their former masters. It is in this thought that he believed the best plan would be to resettle slaves out of America. These actions show the efforts by Jefferson, while still a legislator, to end and stop slavery at the time. As president, in 1807, Jefferson signed an act which prohibited importation of slaves. This act helped to outlaw international slave trade in the United States although it took effect almost a year later. Jefferson was also the chief author of the declaration of independence in which he strongly argued against slavery (Zinn 49). Through the declaration of independence, he noted that slavery opposed nature which calls for every human being to be treated and respected equally. He called the institution to be immoral and not just. In his first draft of the declaration, he noted that every man was equal, and slavery did not replicate this but only caused oppression and death to those held captive. These statements represent Jefferson’s stance on slavery which he opposed. Thomas Jefferson’s views on slavery also became noted through his use of strong words in which he called for an end to the institution. Through his writing and correspondence with political and business associates, his strong words against slavery stood out. His ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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