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 ...
Financier, Continental congressman, U.S. senator; 1741/42—1804.
Merchant, planter, slave trader, president of Continental Congress; 1724—92.
Continental Army officer, aide-de-camp to Washington, son of Henry Laurens; 1754—82.
Soldier, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, congressman, South Carolina governor, senator; 1757—1824.
Lawyer, soldier, delegate to the Constitutional Convention; 1746—1825.
South Carolina governor, second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1739—1800.
British-born painter, mainly of portraits, extended the iconography of the Revolution and the Founding Fathers into the 19th century; 1783—1872.
Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1978)