User Tag List

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28

Thread: Why Didn't Jefferson Manumit His Slaves?

  1. #1
    Points: 134,568, Level: 88
    Level completed: 57%, Points required for next Level: 1,482
    Overall activity: 11.0%
    Achievements:
    Social50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Ethereal's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    454996
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    46,633
    Points
    134,568
    Level
    88
    Thanks Given
    8,921
    Thanked 27,720x in 17,583 Posts
    Mentioned
    969 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Why Didn't Jefferson Manumit His Slaves?

    I was just reading about some college students demanding the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue from their campus. In the course of the debate, the subject of Jefferson's relationship to slavery came up as it usually does.

    One point in particular was Jefferson's failure to manumit his slaves. The main theory being proposed by some of Jefferson's detractors was that Jefferson was just a big-ass phony who lied about everything.

    Of course, we'll never KNOW what Jefferson's true motivations were. We can only make inferences based on the evidence. But I think the evidence tends to support a different theory than the one being put forth by Jefferson's haters. I think Jefferson was a man who genuinely believed in the ideals he espoused, but who, for reasons of human frailty and imperfection, simply failed to live up to them. I think Jefferson's words and actions indicate a clear and genuine opposition to slavery as a concept and as an institution. However, as Jefferson would say himself, the best way to oppose it in the real world at that time was not entirely obvious.

    I'm not saying there aren't criticisms of Jefferson to be made. Everyone can be fairly criticized for something. Jefferson isn't off limits. Nobody is. I just don't think that particular criticism of Jefferson is entirely fair.

    Note to forum members: This is a tPF thread posted in OSS. Personal commentary, bickering, meta-posting, etc. will not be tolerated. Comment substantively on the thread topic or feel free to start your own thread.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ethereal For This Useful Post:

    DGUtley (05-09-2019),MisterVeritis (05-06-2019),Private Pickle (05-06-2019)

  3. #2
    Points: 29,143, Level: 41
    Level completed: 64%, Points required for next Level: 507
    Overall activity: 33.0%
    Achievements:
    50000 Experience PointsSocialVeteran
    FindersKeepers's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    154815
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    9,959
    Points
    29,143
    Level
    41
    Thanks Given
    3,532
    Thanked 7,448x in 4,587 Posts
    Mentioned
    136 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Jefferson did give some of his slaves freedom upon his death -- among them was his long-time mistress, Sally, and their mixed-race children.
    I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.
    ~Leonardo da Vinci

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to FindersKeepers For This Useful Post:

    Ethereal (05-06-2019),stjames1_53 (05-06-2019)

  5. #3
    Points: 11,665, Level: 25
    Level completed: 91%, Points required for next Level: 85
    Overall activity: 7.0%
    Achievements:
    Tagger First ClassYour first Group10000 Experience Points1 year registered
    Admiral Ackbar's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    1533
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,981
    Points
    11,665
    Level
    25
    Thanks Given
    1,025
    Thanked 1,523x in 973 Posts
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Imagine if our Modern Hero's, such as Barrack Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton, Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, AOC, Eric Holder, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Robert Francis O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, and any run of the mill Hollywood celeb had to be perfect human beings before being able to have input on our society.
    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining"----Fletcher in The Outlaw Josey Wales

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Admiral Ackbar For This Useful Post:

    Ethereal (05-06-2019)

  7. #4
    Points: 12,677, Level: 27
    Level completed: 3%, Points required for next Level: 873
    Overall activity: 3.0%
    Achievements:
    3 months registered10000 Experience Points
    alexa's Avatar Post Review / PM Disabled
    Karma
    2387
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    4,618
    Points
    12,677
    Level
    27
    Thanks Given
    2,198
    Thanked 2,377x in 1,740 Posts
    Mentioned
    110 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    He, or more accurately his estate, needed the money.

    IMO, it's a fool's errand to judge from 200+ years in the future.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to alexa For This Useful Post:

    Ethereal (05-06-2019)

  9. #5
    Points: 134,568, Level: 88
    Level completed: 57%, Points required for next Level: 1,482
    Overall activity: 11.0%
    Achievements:
    Social50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Ethereal's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    454996
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    46,633
    Points
    134,568
    Level
    88
    Thanks Given
    8,921
    Thanked 27,720x in 17,583 Posts
    Mentioned
    969 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by FindersKeepers View Post
    Jefferson did give some of his slaves freedom upon his death -- among them was his long-time mistress, Sally, and their mixed-race children.
    Yes. He promised Sally Hemmings he would while they were still in France. Sally Hemmings trusted Jefferson enough to take his word and to return to the US with him even though she could have stayed in France where she was legally free. I think that is pretty good evidence that Jefferson was basically an honest person.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ethereal For This Useful Post:

    MisterVeritis (05-06-2019),stjames1_53 (05-06-2019)

  11. #6
    Points: 12,180, Level: 26
    Level completed: 48%, Points required for next Level: 470
    Overall activity: 57.0%
    Achievements:
    VeteranTagger Second Class10000 Experience Points
    Sergeant Gleed's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    1736
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Right Now? The Planet Gand
    Posts
    4,117
    Points
    12,180
    Level
    26
    Thanks Given
    415
    Thanked 1,728x in 1,333 Posts
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Jefferson was human. As the First Democrat, he was also a hypocrite.

    So...either his words that all men are created equal are an ultimate expression of the ideals that bind all men in society together, and should be pursued regardless of the personal character flaws of their aithor, and use those words, and the ideal, to forge a better society, or we throw away the words because the messenger is more important than the message.

    The Rodents want to throw away the message, because they themselves are disgusting spiteful racists.

    What they going to replace that ideal with?

    Something nasty and disgusting, of course.

    And racist.

  12. #7
    Points: 134,568, Level: 88
    Level completed: 57%, Points required for next Level: 1,482
    Overall activity: 11.0%
    Achievements:
    Social50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Ethereal's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    454996
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    46,633
    Points
    134,568
    Level
    88
    Thanks Given
    8,921
    Thanked 27,720x in 17,583 Posts
    Mentioned
    969 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by alexa View Post
    He, or more accurately his estate, needed the money.

    IMO, it's a fool's errand to judge from 200+ years in the future.
    Yes, money was certainly an important factor. But I think there was also a paternalistic factor. Manumitting a slave at that time was not the most straightforward process. And the life of slave after being manumitted was not exactly full of bright prospects. I believe Jefferson also felt a sort of kinship with the slaves, both literally and figuratively. And that he felt he was protecting them by keeping them inside the protection of Monticello where they could be assured of physical security and even some degree of comfort.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to Ethereal For This Useful Post:

    stjames1_53 (05-06-2019)

  14. #8
    Points: 29,143, Level: 41
    Level completed: 64%, Points required for next Level: 507
    Overall activity: 33.0%
    Achievements:
    50000 Experience PointsSocialVeteran
    FindersKeepers's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    154815
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    9,959
    Points
    29,143
    Level
    41
    Thanks Given
    3,532
    Thanked 7,448x in 4,587 Posts
    Mentioned
    136 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Yes. He promised Sally Hemmings he would while they were still in France. Sally Hemmings trusted Jefferson enough to take his word and to return to the US with him even though she could have stayed in France where she was legally free. I think that is pretty good evidence that Jefferson was basically an honest person.
    I think you're right. I think he and Sally were very close, but it wasn't acceptable back then to have relationships with blacks. Sally, however, from what I've read, insisted on staying and caring for him until he died. You're right, she could have remained in France and lived as a free woman, but she chose to come back with Jefferson and live as a slave.

    Jeffeson's contribution to our nation was enormous.
    I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.
    ~Leonardo da Vinci

  15. #9
    Points: 29,143, Level: 41
    Level completed: 64%, Points required for next Level: 507
    Overall activity: 33.0%
    Achievements:
    50000 Experience PointsSocialVeteran
    FindersKeepers's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    154815
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    9,959
    Points
    29,143
    Level
    41
    Thanks Given
    3,532
    Thanked 7,448x in 4,587 Posts
    Mentioned
    136 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    Yes, money was certainly an important factor. But I think there was also a paternalistic factor. Manumitting a slave at that time was not the most straightforward process. And the life of slave after being manumitted was not exactly full of bright prospects. I believe Jefferson also felt a sort of kinship with the slaves, both literally and figuratively. And that he felt he was protecting them by keeping them inside the protection of Monticello where they could be assured of physical security and even some degree of comfort.
    From what I've read, this too, is likely true.
    I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.
    ~Leonardo da Vinci

  16. #10
    Points: 134,568, Level: 88
    Level completed: 57%, Points required for next Level: 1,482
    Overall activity: 11.0%
    Achievements:
    Social50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    Ethereal's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    454996
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    46,633
    Points
    134,568
    Level
    88
    Thanks Given
    8,921
    Thanked 27,720x in 17,583 Posts
    Mentioned
    969 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant Gleed View Post
    Jefferson was human. As the First Democrat, he was also a hypocrite.

    So...either his words that all men are created equal are an ultimate expression of the ideals that bind all men in society together, and should be pursued regardless of the personal character flaws of their aithor, and use those words, and the ideal, to forge a better society, or we throw away the words because the messenger is more important than the message.

    The Rodents want to throw away the message, because they themselves are disgusting spiteful racists.

    What they going to replace that ideal with?

    Something nasty and disgusting, of course.

    And racist.
    Jefferson believed those words and tried to implement them in the real world. Sometimes, he failed. So if Jefferson was a hypocrite, then so is everyone else.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


Critical Acclaim
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO