Thomas Jefferson, who was personally requested by John Adams to draw up a draft of the Declaration of Independence, initially blamed the king of England for the enslavement of African people. The entry reads, in part:
“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.”
The passage was deleted by Adams in the final draft, but neither saw the innate contradiction in including a line like “all men are created equal.”
- In fact, Jefferson was a lifetime owner of enslaved men and women. In 1767, at the age of 21, Jefferson inherited 5,000 acres of land from his father, which included 52 enslaved people. By 1822, he owned 16,000 acres and over 200 enslaved Black men and women. Jefferson would become the largest slaveholder in Albermarle County, Virginia.
- Jefferson touted gradual emancipation, but by the time of his death, some enslaved Black men and women had toiled on his vast Monticello plantation for four generations. It was only after his death that overseers of his estate were forced to sell many of Jefferson’s enslaved people to settle his debts amassed by his lavish lifestyle.
- The third president of the United States joined the ranks of seven other presidents who owned and sold enslaved Black men and women.
5 thoughts on “11 Little-Known Facts About Thomas Jefferson and Slavery”
This man was one of THE biggest hypocrites and walking contradictions in US history–he was a pedophile & a public rabid elitist and racist who privately raped & impregnated a probably adolescent Sally Hemings & wrote the Declaration of Independence declaring that 'All men are created equal'…while not being MAN enough to free his slaves til after his death. Well at least it seems he did free his children with Sally Hemings & it is believed some of them eventually disappeared into the larger white society BUT some chose to live and marry black. The only other thing I will say favorably about this precursor to Strom Thurmond is this quote of his which is as prophetic today as it was when he wrote it: '…Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.'
Sally was his wife sister. Yes Jefferson was a major slave holder, president of the US, a rapist, and he did not free, not one before he died, not even sally, or any of his children by her. Something interesting the criminal said, "If there is a just God, we are going to pay for this", when he spoke of holding Afurakan people in slavery.
Wow… thank you for the education..
I knew he never released any of his slaves when he died, not even his own seed..
Yea I remember my Mon saying he was a rapist
Dred Scott (correct spelling) and Sally Henson's off springs are now recognized as being offsprings of Jefferson. It has almost become common knowledge of his relationship with Sally, who was his wife's interracial sister.