Thomas Jefferson

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 Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Terra cotta patinated plaster. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

by Mather Brown (1761—1831)

Oil on canvas; 91.4 x 71.1 x (36 x 28 1/16 in).

by John Trumbull (1756—1843)

Oil on wood; miniature. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

by John Trumbull (1756—1843)

Oil on mahogany. 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (11.4 x 8.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

by John Trumbull (1756—1843)

Oil on panel; 12.1 × 7.6 cm (4.8 × 3 in). The White House Collection, Washington, DC.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Thomas Jefferson State Reception Room, U.S. Department of State building, Washington, D.C.

by Charles Willson Peale (1741—1827)

Oil on canvas. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

by James Sharples (c. 1751—1811)

Pastel on paper. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.

by Charles Peale Polk (1767—1822)

Oil on canvas; 69.22 cm (27.25 in) x 60.96 cm (24 in). Private collection.

By attacking slavery more fiercely than ever before, Revolutionary Americans freed tens of thousands of slaves. But the Revolution’s libertarian and egalitarian message had perverse consequences. It forced those Southerners who chose to retain slavery to fall back on the alleged racial deficiencies of blacks as a justification for an institution that hitherto they had taken for granted and had never before needed to justify. The anti-slavery movement that arose out of the Revolution inadvertently produced racism in America.

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