General History/thomas jefferosn


What is Thomas jefferson's views on slavery, and his perceptions about black people as revealed in his Notes on the State of Virginia. What did Thomas Jefferson think about the institutions of slavery?What were his thoughts about the characteristics and nature of black people? Did Jefferson, who wrote the famous words,"all men are created equal extend this belief to include black people. What did he think about the future of black people in America.

As with many issues, Jefferson expressed different views on slavery at different times in his life.  In "Notes" written in the 1780's, Jefferson expressed his view that blacks and whites were different by nature and that slavery was justified.  However, he also expressed his view that slavery should eventually end and that freed slaves should be removed from Virginia to a colony in Africa where they could live separately from whites.  He did not think free blacks and free whites could live together.  He wrote the following:

"It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race."

Clearly his views on the inherent differences between blacks and whites seems to contradict with the principles expressed in the Declaration.  Of course, even if he did not accept equality, that did not mean he felt slavery was justifiable.  Indeed, in an early draft of the Declaration, he accused the King of forcing the Institution of Slavery on the colonies and made that one justification for Independence.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

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Michael Troy


My specialties are 17th through 19th Century history, especially in the Americas and Europe. I also have a fair knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman History, and some knowledge of Medieval European history. My expertise is focuses on Military and political history, but I`ll take a crack at anything.


I have been a guest lecturer at George Washington University. Mostly, I have just read hundreds of books about world history.


J.D. Univ. of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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