hero of the war against slavery.
The hall of fame is a structure where famous individuals and celebrities
who have shaped the history of America are acknowledged and given
sufficient recognition for their contribution in matters of national
interest. These persons are given recognition by placement of physical
objects such as plagues, sculptures, and memorabilia in the halls of
fame. However, some halls of fame maintain a figurative way of
recognizing the heroes and heroines by listing the noteworthy people who
have played different roles in transforming the society. Thomas
Jefferson is of the noteworthy Americans who were elected in 1900 in the
Hall of fame (Sassi-Lehner 1-2). Although there are many accomplishments
that would have warranted Jefferson’s election, his strong stance
against slavery and discrimination against humanity on the basis of
preconceived thoughts of race, color, or religious differences
fascinated the majority. Thomas Jefferson can be considered to be the
founding father of the free America, where all citizens have equal
rights to pursue happiness, right to live, and enjoy liberty.
Thomas Jefferson pursued numerous careers during his lifetime, some of
which were inherited from his father Peter Jefferson. Thomas was born in
Albemarle County in Virginia in 1743 (Sassi-Lehner 2). He joined William
and Mary College located in Williamsburg in 1760, which was three years
after his father’s death. During his college life, Thomas pursued
music where he was recognized as talented violinist. He studied law
after college and later took over the management of the estates and
parcels of land that were owned by his father at the age of 21 years. He
began his mission of advocating for a free world by writing a book
titled Lord Coke, which rejected the notion that Christianity was the
inherent part of the English Laws. Thomas was appointed to draft the
Declaration of Independence, following his elegant writing skills. He
also assumed various roles in the political system of the United States,
which include representative in Congress, the design of the currency
system that is in use today, and the third president of the United
States (Trumbull 1). These positions gave Jefferson an opportunity to
pursue his mission of ensuring the freedom of all people and elimination
of religious or ethnic forms of discrimination.
Thomas Jefferson was given the privilege to draft the Declaration of
Independence by the committee of five, which was appointed by the
Congress in 1776 (American History 1). This was an opportunity for
Jefferson to express his desire for a free world, where people would not
be prejudiced or discriminated against on the basis of their color,
religion, or any other preconceived and baseless ideas. There are five
basic principles that Jefferson included in the Declaration of
Independence, which formed the basis of the free United States of
America and set the pace for the pursuit of justice for all. First,
Thomas emphasized on the notion of self-evident truths, which holds that
all human beings were created equal and accorded unalienable rights.
This formed the basis of advocating for the rights of slaves given the
fact that they also had unalienable rights.
Secondly, Thomas ingrained the notion that rights (such as the right to
own property) are inherent in human nature. This implied that the
government would lose its legitimacy of its existence is justified on
class, wealth, race, heredity, or religion. Third, Thomas differentiated
equality of all men from the previous misconceptions by stating that
equality should be founded on rights and liberty, but not on strength,
batting averages, or character (American History 1). Fourth, Thomas
suggested that the primary role of government was to protect the
liberty, rights of all people, and give them an opportunity to pursue
happiness. Happiness, in this context, referred not to stupefied
pleasure or self satisfaction, but giving people an opportunity to live
to their full potential or flourishing lives. Fifth, Thomas integrated
the right of revolution in the declaration of independence by stating
that people should be given the right of self-governance both in theory
and in practice. The five basic principles formed the basis of a free
political system and the freedom of all people of the United States
irrespective their color, religion, race, and status.
Thomas had a contradicting position about slavery and oppression of the
minority groups especially the African Americans who were being held the
white as slaves. Theoretically, he opposed slavery and condemned it in
the strongest terms both in writing and in speeches. His oral statements
portrayed him as one of the greatest opponents of slavery. He termed
slavery as moral depravity and the greatest enemy of the new nation of
America (The Monticello 1). Jefferson claimed that slavery contradicted
the laws of nature, which holds that everybody has the right of personal
liberty. He used his political position to draft the first bill that
would abolish slavery in all states of North America in a democratic
process. Jefferson argued that a legislative measure that would ensure
that all the slave owners release their enslaved laborers would be
consistent with the spirit of the American Revolution. An effort to
abolish slavery was the major contribution that Jefferson made in
shaping the American History. His prediction of the possible occurrence
of race wars became true in 1791 when the Haiti revolts occurred and in
1860 during the Civil War (The Monticello 1).
Although Jefferson’s statements and writings demonstrated him as an
antislavery agent, his actions did not match with what he said or wrote.
He owned slaves and accepted to release a few of them at his own will
(Finkelman 194). Despite the fact that Jefferson advocated for the large
scale release of slaves, at other times he suggested that gradual
emancipation would serve the interest of both the slave owners and
slaves, but this proposal was rejected (Finkelman 199-200). In addition,
Jefferson failed to listen to the complaints aired by his own slaves.
For example, one of his slaves wrote to him concerning the heavy burden
they were being subjected to but never got any response (Baker 140-143).
This suggests that Jefferson advocated for the abolition of slavery, but
with some reservations.
In conclusion, Thomas Jefferson can be considered to be the founding
father of the free America, where all citizens have equal rights to
pursue happiness, right to live, and enjoy liberty. Throughout his life
he advocated for the freedom of all people irrespective of their color,
race, or religion. The writing skills and political popularity that he
possessed were great advantages to his endeavor to pursue justice and
freedom the all people living in the America. His ability to utilize the
privilege of writing the Declaration of Independence made his interest
in pursuing the antislavery mission known by the public. This was a
major milestone achieved in the war against racism and maintenance of a
peaceful Union. Although there are some claim that Jefferson attempt to
fight slavery was a political agenda, his accomplishments in the
abolition of slavery and instillation of human freedom will remain
ingrained in the history of the United States forever.
American History. Jefferson’s draft of the declaration of
independence, 28 June, 1776. University of Humanities. 2012. Web. 10
Baker, N. “Sources and interpretations”. A slave writes Thomas
Jefferson. The William and Mary Quarterly 68.1 (2011): 127-154. Print.
Finkelman, P. “Thomas Jefferson and antislavery”. The Virginia
Magazine of History and Biography 102.2 (1994): 193-228. Print.
Sassi-Lehner, C. Continuum of greatness: The Hall of Fame for great
Americans. New York: Bronx Community College, 2009. Print.
The Monticello. Thomas Jefferson and slavery. Monticello. 2012. Web. 10
Trumbull, J. Thomas Jefferson, a brief biography. Monticello. 1788. Web.
10 December 2013.
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hero of the war against slavery.