Jefferson was born in Virginia where there was slave practice that was followed even before the birth of Jefferson. It was a practice that was widely prevalent in the region. Jefferson himself inherited a number of slaves. He was an avid proponent who advocated against slavery in the political arena. But he had slaves and even brought the slaves to the White house. This move was widely criticized and also debated. Jefferson had an ambivalent stand in this issue. He himself contended that slaves were not as equal as the white man and also stated that they cannot sustain in the white man’s land. These accounts were widely criticized by the people. He wanted to abolish slavery but he himself maintained slaves. It was during this time that the federal government was also facing financial crisis and having slaves ensured steady income to the landlords. It was a cultural practice that was followed in the region. Jefferson for this reason had employed slaves for working under him. On a personal front, Jefferson was found to live in an economy that was largely dependent on slavery for his income. Throughout his lifetime, he had acquired more than 600 slaves of whom 175 were inherited. It has been noted by historians that Jefferson was a benevolent leader who did not overwork or stress his slaves. He was found to given them a number of financial incentives and also was found to give them training to survive on his own. But some other historians propose that he was a hard task master. This is a divided view that exists among the historians regarding the personal stance of Jefferson. With time and after retirement, he had only emancipated few slaves from the Hemmings. This was another controversy that Jefferson was embroiled with in the subsequent years. Sally Hemmings controversy was another facet to this issue. The members of the Hemming family were emancipated and allowed to live as free people in the nation. It was widely questioned as to why the other slaves were not freed by Jefferson when he was an avid proponent of abolishing slavery in the region.
The issues of this situation were not if Jefferson was a benevolent leader or how he treated slaves. He was against slavery and a proponent who wanted equality. This act of owing slaves was widely criticized as it was different from his political ideologies that were prevailing in the region. This stance was considered to be a double standard by the people. People of America wanted to understand what the actual stand was by Jefferson their leader in this process of slavery.It also delivers confusing message to the masses. Leaders of the nation set a precedent as to how the nation should function. If Jefferson himself had slaves it seemed ok that other people in the nation could also have slaves. This was a mixed message that has been confusing people.
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