Monday, March 16, 2020

Jerry Mathis Essays - Thomas Jefferson, American Slaves, Free Essays

Jerry Mathis Essays - Thomas Jefferson, American Slaves, Free Essays Jerry Mathis March 2018 American Presidents Prof. Steven Brady The Declaration of Hypocrisy During the 18th Century, the United States of America was in the process of gaining independence from Europe and establishing themselves as a strong country. Many new Americans saw a great opportunity to step up and contribute ideas that could turn America into a true international superpower. They decided to create a democracy, the government where the leader ideally represents the voices of many public citizens. One of these leaders was the third president and member of the original founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson. While most Americans view Thomas Jefferson as an upstanding, honorable, and accomplished man, he was plagued with the moral contradiction of having fathered children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, spurring a great deal of controversy. Jefferson preached equality, but owned slaves. He fought for individual rights, yet had intimate relationships with people who were his property. Jefferson's virtuous demeanor has been questioned when celebrating his legacy an d historians often argue how hypocritical he really was. However, by delving into Jefferson's relationships with his slaves and by looking at his plantation, Monticello, it is easy to tell that Jefferson did not see slaves as less of a person than others.Thomas Jefferson's parents are Peter Jefferson, a lawmaker in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and Jane Randolph. Growing up, Jefferson was taught discipline and self-perseverance. His father taught him how to read, write, and how to do a numerous amount of outdoor activities. However, he soon had to put his child behavior behind him and without warning take over being the man of the household. Peter Jefferson died in 1757, when Thomas was only 14 years old. Thomas Jefferson now had to take responsibility over his younger siblings. He inherited many of his father's belongings, and used these to his advantage. Unable to completely enjoy his youth, attended private schools and was provided with the best tutors where he studied several languages. Due to Jefferson's early onset maturity, education became his top priority. In 1760, Jefferson enrolled in the college of William and Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia.Thomas Jefferson used this education to gain influence within the Democratic-Republicans. He stood out as the party's leader, and used the publicity and high profile to rise in government rankings. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which is what most historians study to grasp Jefferson's ideals. Jefferson writes about the fundamental goals of life, which he pulled from writer John Locke to be "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Jefferson made it clear that he believed the only point of government was to protect these ambitions, allowing all humans to pursue their happiness. Jefferson also speaks about the equality of men, saying, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator." Jefferson knew that his ownership of slaves contradicted the very principles that he was trying to bestow upon the young nation. He refused to grant freedom to his own slaves because of their significances to his wealth, but overall, he repeatedly and overtly condemned slavery. Jefferson inherited land from his deceased father, and waited until 1770 to begin building his plantation in Charlottesville, called Monticello. Jefferson's personality was reflected in his home, that Francis Cogliano in his book "Thomas Jefferson: Reputation Legacy" described as "a working plantation, a family home, an informal innand not least a reflection of Jefferson's view of the world and how he wanted to be viewed by the world." (Cogliano, 108) This estate was more than 10,000 acres and housed over 180 slaves who cared for his estate while he was away. The way his home was decorated, with many mementos from Native Americans, showed his interest in other cultures. In 1772, Jefferson married Martha Skelton Jefferson and moved her into his home at Monticello. Martha came from a well-established family; John Wayles, her father, was a well-known lawyer. Wayles' daughter, and Martha's half-sister Sally Hemings became one of Jefferson's slaves. (Cogliano, 170) After Martha died in 1 782, Jefferson became intimately involved with Hemings. James Callender took the liberty to write about this controversy in the Richmond Recorder. Callender

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