Quotes and snippets from Jefferson have been used to suggest that he altered his views on slavery, or that these were inconsistent with each other. He can be quoted to sound like an ardent abolitionist, or to sound like the most oppressive of masters. But everything he wrote on the subject is consistent with the complex treatment he gave to slavery in his Notes [on Virginia]. He always opposed enslavement in general and further slave imports to Virginia in particular. He always supported the freeing of slaves en masse, but always and only in connection with a scheme of deportation ...
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President; 1735—1826.
Son of John and Abigail Adams, diplomat, senator, sixth President, congressman; 1767—1848.
Merchant, Continental congressman, diplomat to France; 1737—89.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, vice president under Madison; 1744—1814.
Lawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1745—1829.
Continental Army officer, aide-de-camp to Washington, son of Henry Laurens; 1754—82.
Diplomat to France, Continental congressman; 1740—92.
Mercantilist, diplomat; 1739—95.
New York lawyer, politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1746—1813.
Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1978)