Armstrong Economics Blog/America’s Economic History
Re-Posted Jul 8, 2020 by Martin Armstrong
Then there is Thomas Jefferson who these people simply say was a slave owner and had children with a slave. The slaves were his wife’s from her former marriage after her first husband died. Some were skilled, but most were farmhands. If Jefferson released them all, they would have starved. Over 70% of the economy was agrarian. They would not have been able to find a job at Starbucks or something. It was a completely different world. There would be no employment.
It was Jefferson who actually began the entire immorality of slavery, which shows that these people do not know their history. There was a heated debate over Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence and his phrase “all men are created equal” when there existed American slavery among many of the delegates. The Congress deleted nearly a fourth of Jefferson’s draft, which included a passage criticizing the slave trade. It was Jefferson who first brought to the surface the controversial “anti-slavery” passage. Jefferson had long been against slavery and argued in court for the abolition of a slave before he ever wrote the Declaration of Independence. It was Jefferson who first articulated the anti-slavery concept which would eventually lead to the Civil War.
Insofar as having children with a slave, this was after his wife died; the slave was mixed race and the offspring of his wife’s former husband. Jefferson freed them and they were skilled and did not work as farmhands.
There were ruthless slave owners and there were also moderate to benevolent masters. Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment, but he also had to be practical in the world he lived in at the time.