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Word Count: 766
The character of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson The Man The Myth and The Morality Thomas Jefferson was a man of the greatest moral character who has been excoriated routinely over the last 30 years by historical revisionists and presentists His commitment to America and his vast contributions to the framing of society as it is today are overlooked in favor of base analysis of his character that while not flawless is that of a morally upright person who has deeply held convictions and lives by them Jefferson was born to a prominent family of Virginia tobacco growers Plantation life is based largely around the work of slaves so Jefferson was surrounded by them from the time of his birth in 1743 until the day he died One of the harshest criticisms of Jefferson comes from the fact that while he vehemently opposed slavery was indeed a slave owner himself As historian Douglas L Wilson points out in his Atlantic Monthly article Thomas Jefferson and the Character Issue the question should be reversed This was of asking the question is essentially backward and reflects the pervasive presentism of our time Consider for example how different the question appears when inverted and framed in more historical terms How did a man who was born into a slave holding society whose family and admired friends owned slaves who inherited a fortune that was dependent on slaves and slave labor decide at an early age that slavery was morally wrong and forcefully declare that it ought to be abolished Wilson 66 Wilson also argues that Jefferson knew that his slaves would be better off working for him than freed in a world where they would be treated with contempt and not given any real freedoms Another way that Thomas Jefferson shows his moral character is in his most famous achievement the drafting of the Declaration
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