Benjamin Franklin

by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863—1930)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 24 in. One of the 78 scenes from American history by Ferris titled The Pageant of a Nation. Virginia Historical S

by Robert Feke (c. 1707—52)

Oil on canvas; 127 x 102 cm (50 x 40 3/16 in.) Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge MA.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

 

by John Trumbull (1756—1843)

Oil on wood; 14 x 11.1 cm (5 1/2 x 4 3/8 in.) Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; Height: 28 ½” (72.3 cm); Width: 36 ¼” (92.7 cm). Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; Winterthur, DE.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas; oval: 23 1/8 x 19 1/16 in. (58.7 x 48.4 cm.) Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Philadelphia, PA.

by William Rush (1756—1833)

North American white pine; 54.6 x 40 x 38.1 cm (21 1/2 x 15 3/4 x 15 in.) Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on slate; 13 3/8 x 10 1/16 inches (34 x 25.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA.

by Norman Rockwell (1894—1978)

Oil on canvas; 37 x 28 inches. Private collection.

Monticello was a working plantation, and Jefferson was eager to make it pay. His slaves may have been members of his family, but they were units of production as well. Everywhere on his plantation he sought to eliminate pockets of idleness. If a slave was too old or too sick to work in the fields, he or she was put to tending the vegetable gardens or to cooking in the quarters. When one of his former head men named Nace became ill, Jefferson ordered that he be entirely kept from labour until he recovers; nevertheless, Nace was to spend his days indoors shelling corn or making shoes or baskets. Jefferson was willing to prescribe lighter work for women who were pregnant or raising infant children because they were actually breeding more property; thus, said Jefferson, a child raised every 2 years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man. This is one of the times, he said, when providence has made our interest and our duties coincide perfectly.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)