What a complicated this one is! Well not really, but I’d love to have been look into his mind.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the original founders of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a complicated man in that he “seemed” to be for Independence, one moment he wanted to include the Native American as “free”…But kept African Americans as slaves…Then had children with his slaves. He was a “strong” disciple of the Greek and Rome teachings and went forward with a school “University of Virginia” that was ‘free’ of Church teachings and generally shunned Christian (and was shunned by) teachings.
“All men are created equal”
While this is a true quote of Jefferson’s, he didn’t exactly always “live” by it. When he got older he also wrote how and his belief that blacks and whites could not live together as free people in one society because of justified resentments of the enslaved. I think of today and it’s still pretty much true really.
It’s what I mean by “complicated” One moment he didn’t mind having slaves himself, but at the same time recognised the problems with it. He also seemed to be against international slave trading, but not so much domestically.
In 1807, Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, which Jefferson signed. The act established severe punishment against the international slave trade, although it did not address the issue domestically.
His own slaves were sold at a public auction when he died. Over his life he “obtained” over 600 slaves. Jefferson was known as well as a “benevolent” slave owner, meaning that he gave them good food, cabins etc…But he still had them.