Racism and racism are not new to the world today; they have existed since the time of the slave trade and continue to exist to this day. Over these years, we have heard and learnt of situations and stories linked to the case of racism and racist action that have either led to the death of people or even a person.
Through the course of time, we have gotten to learn of top individuals who have fostered racist movements all over the globe, and today we will be looking at one popular racist who people were skeptical about being racist about. All we would be looking at is who he is and what evidence shows that he is in fact a racist.
Who Is Jefferson Thomas?
Jefferson Thomas was an American statesman, lawyer, architect, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809.
He had previously served as the United States’ second vice president under John Adams and the first secretary of state under George Washington. Jefferson, during his years on earth, was believed to be a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual liberties, driving American colonists to secede from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. He produced crucial documents and decisions at both the state and national levels.
Jeffersons Life And Achievements
While largely a plantation owner, lawyer, and politician, Jefferson was skilled in a variety of fields, including surveying, mathematics, horticulture, and mechanics. He was a classical architect in the best sense of the word. Jefferson’ s considerable interest in religion and philosophy led to his appointment as president of the American Philosophical Society; he avoided organized religion but was influenced by Christianity, Epicureanism, and deism.
Jefferson was popular during his time and was known to have had approximately 600 slaves who were most likely kept in his home and on his farms.
Aside from being a racist, Jefferson was also well known for his infidelity. Jefferson’ s time, his relationship with Sally Hemings, a bi- racial enslaved woman, began, according to evidence, her affair with Jefferson when she first came to Paris at the age of 14, while Jefferson was 44.
Further records showed that she was pregnant when she returned to the United States at the age of 16. This, along with his late wife’ s half- sister, has sparked debate. According to oral history and DNA evidence from living descendants, Jefferson fathered at least six children with Hemings, four of whom lived to adulthood.
Jefferson’s Racist Letter
In the year 1791, a letter was written to Thomas Jefferson, who at that time was the secretary of state, by Benjamin Banneker, a free black mathematician, scientist, astronomer, and surveyor, who argued against Jefferson’ s mindset of racism, urging him to correct his ” narrow prejudices” and ” eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions, which so commonly prevails with respect to us. “
He further included a manuscript of his almanac, which would be printed the next year, in his letter, in which he denounced Jefferson’ s slaveholding. Jefferson was skeptical about African- American intelligence, and in his quick response, all he said was that he welcomed ” such demonstrations as you exhibit” of black people with talents comparable to those of other races of men.
According to some, Thomas Jefferson remained a divisive figure who taught what he did not believe in his heart. The letter of Benjamin Banneker is possibly the most important piece of evidence that shows Thomas Jefferson in his real light.
As indicated below,
” Sir, I am fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom which I take with you on this present occasion; liberty which seems to me scarcely allowable when I reflect on that distinguished and dignified station in which you stand; and the almost general prejudice and prepossession which are so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion.
” I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you to require proof here, that we are a race of beings who have long labored under the world’ s abuse and censure, that we have long been looked upon with contempt, and that we have long been considered more brutish than human, and barely capable of mental endowments.
” Sir, I hope I can safely admit, as a result of that report, that you are a man far less rigid in such sentiments than many others, that you are immeasurably friendly and well- disposed toward us, and that you are willing and ready to lend your aid and assistance to our relief from the many distresses and numerous calamities to which we have been reduced.
” Now, sir, if this is true, I believe you will eagerly embrace any opportunity to dispel the train of absurd and false ideas and opinions that so commonly prevail with regard to us, and that your sentiments are congruent with mine, which are that one universal Father has given being to us all, and that he has also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties, and that, however variable we may be, Sir, if you are fully convinced of these sentiments, I hope you cannot but acknowledge that it is the unavoidable duty of those who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature and profess the obligations of Christianity, to extend their power and influence to the relief of every part of the human race, from whatever burden or oppression they may unjustly labor under, and this I believe requires a full conviction of the truth and obligation of these principles.
” Sir, I have long been convinced that if your love for yourself and for those inestimable laws that preserve to you the rights of human nature were founded on sincerity, you could not but be solicitous that every individual of whatever rank or distinction might enjoy with you equally the blessings thereof, and that you could not rest satisfied, short of the most active diffusion of your exertions, in order to their promotion from any state of degradation to which the unjustifiable has reduced them.
” Sir, I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am of the African race, and that I am of the deepest dye, and it is with the deepest gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the universe that I now confess to you that I am not under the tyrannical thralldom and inhuman captivity to which too many of my brethren are doomed; but that I have abundantly tasted of the fruition of those blessings which proceed from that free Sir, Suffer me to recall to your mind that time in which the arms and tyranny of the British Crown were exerted with every great effort to reduce you to a state of servitude.
” Look back, I entreat you, on the variety of dangers to which you were exposed. Reflect on that time in which every human aid appeared unavailable, and in which even hope and fortitude wore the aspect of inability to the conflict, and you cannot but be led to a serious and grateful sense of your miraculous and providential preservation; you cannot but acknowledge that the present freedom and tranquillity which you have mercifully received, and that it is the peculiar blessing of Heaven.
” This, Sir, was a time in which you clearly saw into the injustice of a state of slavery and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition. It was now, Sir, that your abhorrence thereof was so excited, that you publicly held forth this true and invaluable doctrine, which is worthy of being recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages.
” We hold these truths to be self- evident: that all men are created equal, and that their creator has endowed them with certain unalienable rights, ” including ” life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ” Here, Sir, was a time when your tender feelings for yourself had compelled you to declare, that while you were so fully convinced of the father of mankind’ s benevolence, and of his equal and impartial distribution of those rights and privileges which he had conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so many of my brethren under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that Sir, your knowledge of my brethren’ s situation is too extensive to require a recital here; nor shall I presume to prescribe methods by which they may be relieved; other than by recommending to you and all others to wean yourselves from these narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with regard to them, and, as Job proposed to his friends, ” Put your Souls in their Souls stead, ” thus shall your hearts be enlarged with kindness and benevolence toward them, and now, Sir, although my sympathy and affection for my brothers have caused my enlargement thus far, I ardently hope that your candour and generosity will plead with you on my behalf when I make known to you that it was not originally my design, but that having taken up my pen to direct to you, as a present, a copy of an Almanac which I have calculated for the succeeding year, I was unexpectedly and unavoidably led thereto.
” This calculation, Sir, is the result of my arduous study at this advanced stage of life; for having long had unending desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature, I have had to satiate my curiosity herein through my own assiduous application to astronomical study, in which I need not recount to you the many difficulties and disadvantages that I have had to encounter.
” And, though I had almost refused to make my calculation for the coming year because the time I had allotted for it had been taken up in the Federal Territory by Mr. Andrew Ellicott’ s request, finding myself under several engagements to printers in this state to whom I had communicated my design, on my return to my place of residence, I industriously applied myself thereto, which I hope I have accomplished with correctness and accuracy, a copy— And now, Sir, I shall conclude and subscribe myself with the most profound respect to your most obedient humble servant, Benjamin Banneker. “
Credit: African Ecponet
Jefferson founded the University of Virginia after leaving public office. On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the United States’ independence, both Jefferson and John Adams died. Jefferson’ s public achievements, especially his support of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia, are usually praised by presidential scholars and historians.
Jefferson is frequently ranked among the top five presidents of the United States. After leaving public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the United States’ independence, both Jefferson and John Adams died.
Jefferson’ s public achievements, especially his support of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia, are usually praised by presidential scholars and historians, and up until this very day, Jefferson is frequently ranked among the top five presidents in the United States.
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