56 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2021
    1. I allow nothing for losses by death, but on the contrary shall presently take credit 4. pr. cent pr. annum for their increase over & above keepg. up their own numbers.

      Perhaps one of the most telling annotations in history: Where Jefferson annotates his own 1792 letter to Washington to herald the profit in breeding enslaved people.

      You can also see an image of the actual letter on page 4/5: Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, Notes. -06-18, 1792. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mtjbib006309/.

      Hat tip to Stuart Pace and Henry Wiencek's Smithsonian article, "The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson".

  2. Oct 2020
    1. Slave labour cannot be obtained without somebody being enslaved. At his estate at Monticello, Jefferson invented many ingenious gadgets - including a 'dumb waiter' to mediate contact with his slaves. In the late twentieth century, it is not surprising that this liberal slave-owner is the hero of those who proclaim freedom while denying their brown-skinned fellow citizens those democratic rights said to be inalienable.

      This is a powerful example

  3. Sep 2020
    1. In American folklore, the nation was built out of a wilderness by free-booting individuals - the trappers, cowboys, preachers, and settlers of the frontier. Yet this primary myth of the American republic ignores the contradiction at the heart of the American dream: that some individuals can prosper only through the suffering of others. The life of Thomas Jefferson - the man behind the ideal of `Jeffersonian democracy' - clearly demonstrates the double nature of liberal individualism. The man who wrote the inspiring call for democracy and liberty in the American declaration of independence was at the same time one of the largest slave-owners in the country.

      Some profound ideas here about the "American Dream" and the dark underbelly of what it may take to achieve not only for individuals, but to do so at scale.

  4. Jun 2020
    1. people as property and he was about $100,000 in debt ( about $2 mil-lion in 2014), an amount s o staggering that he knew that once he died, everything—and everyone—would be sold.
    2. One histo-rian estimated that J efferson had owned more than six hundred slaves over t he course of his l ifetime. I n 1826, he held around two hundred
    3. “ I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable t han the best man on the f arm,” J efferson once explained to a friend.
    4. eer. Some of Jefferson’s defend-ers during the campaign were jailed by the Adams administration under t he 1798 Sedition Act—namely, J ames Callender. Pardoned by Jefferson when he won the presidency in 1800, Callender apparently requested patronage as r etribution for his s ervices. President J efferson refused. I ncensed, Callender exposed Jefferson’s s ecret.18On September 1, 1 802, Richmond’s Recorder r eaders l earned about the relationship between President Thomas J efferson and Sally Hem-ings. “By this wench Sally, our president h as had s everal children,” Callender wrote.
    5. J efferson agreed, after some waver-ing, t o become the first US secretary of s tate i n George Washington’s inaugural a dministration. Beginning his t enure on March 22, 1 79
    6. Notes on the State o f Virginia would become t he most c onsumed American nonfiction book u ntil well i nto t he mid-nineteenth c entury
    7. On August 6, 1 784, J efferson arrived in Paris
    8. The ambitious politician, maybe fearful of a lienat-ing potential f riends, maybe torn between Enlightenment antislavery and American proslavery, maybe honestly unsure, did not pick sides between polygenesists and monogenesists, between segregationists and assimilationists, between slavery and freedom. But he did pick the side of r acism
    9. Notes on the State of Virginia was replete with other contradictory ideas about Black people. “ They are at l east as brave, and more adven-turesome” than Whites, b ecause they lacked the forethought to s ee “danger t ill i t be present,” J efferson wrote. Africans f elt l ove more, but they felt pain less, he said, and “their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” That i s why they were disposed “to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labour. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course.” But on the previous page, J ef-ferson cast Blacks as requiring “less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight.” I n Jefferson’s vivid imagination, l azy Blacks desiredto sleep more than Whites, but, as physical s avants, t hey required l ess sleep.

      Examples of Jefferson's contradictory racist ideas about African Americans.

    10. With no intention to publish, J efferson unabashedly expressed his views on Black people, and in particular on potentially freed Black people. “ Incorporating the [freed] blacks i nto the state” was out of the question, he declared. “ Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; t en thousand recollections, by the blacks, of t he injuries they have sustained; new provocations; t he real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us i nto parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end but in the extermination of t he one or t he other r ace

      Jefferson to French diplomat François Barbé-Marbois in 1781 in Notes on the State of Virginia.

      Little did he know that these convulsions would reverberate for over 240 years.

    11. What did it mean for J efferson to call “ liberty” an “inalienable right” when he enslaved people?
    12. Thomas Jefferson disagreed. At t he beginning of t he Declaration of Independence, he paraphrased the Virginia constitution, i ndelibly penning: “ all Men are created equal.”It is impossible to know for s ure whether J efferson meant t o include his enslaved laborers ( or women) in his “all Men.” Was he merely emphasizing the equality of White Americans and the English? Later i n the document, he did scold the British for “ exciting those very people to rise in arms among us”—those “people” being resisting Afri-cans. Did Jefferson insert “created equal” a s a nod to the swirling debate between monogenesis and polygenesis? Even if J efferson believed all groups to be “created equal,” he never believed the antiracist creed that all human groups are e qual. But his “ all Men are created equal” was revolutionary n onetheless; i t even propelled Vermont and Mas-sachusetts to abolish slavery.
  5. Dec 2017
    1. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.

      In this phrase, Jefferson talks about the importance of education and advancement by using the native Americans as an example. He describes them as barbaric and is basically making fun of their ideology to worship their ancestors and their traditional ways. This is not the first time Jefferson expressed his views of Native Americans in such a negative light. For my Art Inside/Out Engagement course, I am doing a project on the Declaration of Independence. The quote that my group decided to use was “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” The discrimination against Native Americans is engraved in the Declaration of Independence of the United States and in the Rockfish Gap Report of the University of Virginia.

  6. Sep 2017
    1. They will be more advanced than we are, in science and in useful arts, and will know best what will suit the circumstances of their day.

      This sentence kind of stuck out to me. I thought it was very Jeffersonian. When creating the US Constitution, Jefferson wanted the people to revise it every 19 years, so each generation could change aspects of the government according to their time. He brought the idea of changing institutions to better fit generations to his university, because he could not make it work in his country. The commissioners put their faith in the future generations, hoping that the university will keep the same basic principles through a changing world. -Tessa

    2. Botany

      It makes sense that botany was one of the original "branches of learning" offered at UVA, as it reflects the state's history as a primarily agricultural society. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as having told George Washington, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness." . Jefferson held strong beliefs in the importance of an agrarian economy. UVA now offers biology and environmental science classes in the place of botany, which reflects Virginia's evolution to an industrialized state.

  7. Jun 2017
    1. governments are instituted among men

      Jefferson got ideas for the constitution from "Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxons"

    2. Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & transient causes;

      [I have no doubt that Jefferson studied The genuine principles of the ancient Saxon, or English constitution, Volume 4 prior to writing the Declaration of Independence]

      (https://books.google.com/books?id=jatbAAAAQAAJ&dq=Prudence%20indeed%20will%20dictate%20that%20governments&pg=PA41#v=onepage&q=Prudence%20indeed%20will%20dictate%20that%20governments&f=false)

      <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="border:0px" src="https://books.google.com/books?id=jatbAAAAQAAJ&dq=Prudence%20indeed%20will%20dictate%20that%20governments&pg=PA1&output=embed" width=500 height=500></iframe>

    3. that all Men are created equal;

      [

      Jefferson possibly looked at John Tillotson's "archbishop of Canterbury" (pg. 264), when Creating the Declaration of Independence](https://books.google.com/books?id=X7ZbAAAAQAAJ&dq=all%20men%20are%20created%20equal&pg=PA264#v=onepage&q=all%20men%20are%20created%20equal&f=false)

  8. Oct 2015
    1. Music is invaluable where a person has an ear. Where they have not, it should not be attempted.

      Even the best musicians sound like crap at first, TOM.

    2. I need say nothing of household economy, in which the mothers of our country are generally skilled, and generally careful to instruct their daughters.

      Women must be skilled at cleaning because God forbid a man pick up after himself

    3. Music is invaluable where a person has an ear. Where they have not, it should not be attempted.

      If you suck, don't play music

    4. It is an innocent and engaging amusement

      Always gotta be innocent...

    5. that no lady dances after marriage.

      Probably because her happiness dies when she's married to a sexist.

    6. very attractive

      Of course, women's main focus is being attractive.

    7. In the subjoined catalogue, therefore, I have placed the books of both languages indifferently, according as the one or the other offers what is best.

      Is he creating the beginnings of the public education system?

    8. much poetry should not be indulged.

      EVIL.

    9. The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life. This mass of trash, however, is not without some distinction; some few modelling their narratives, although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able to make them interesting and useful vehicles of sound morality.

      Wow, he is not fond of literature for means of education. Considering it's a "mass of trash."

    10. This mass of trash, however, is not without some distinction; some few modelling their narratives, although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able to make them interesting and useful vehicles of sound morality.

      He's basically equating fiction to something like the crappy sitcoms of today. And this is all he let's his daughter read--you know, for the life lessons.

    11. and even to direct the course for sons, should their fathers be lost, or incapable, or inattentive.

      Women, even his own daughters, should only educate boys as a last resort.

    1. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.

      Wow, boldly calling out Christianity here. Too bad he's not as forward-thinking in matters of race...

    2. The man, in whose favour no laws of property exist, probably feels himself less bound to respect those made in favour of others.

      There's some logic!

    3. But they were of the race of whites.

      Yup, don't forget that!

    4. The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life.

      Oh sure, slavery and extreme prejudice has NOTHING to do with it.

    5. Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry

      AND THEN HIP HOP CAME ALONG. EAT IT, TOM.

    6. Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry

      They were never taught how to write or express their ideas, so if there is poetry, there's no evidence of it for you to see, Jefferson.

    7. But never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never see even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture.

      Like they have time to cultivate an imagination or speak above the level of "plain narration." All they do is work! I would imagine it's pretty hard to cultivate your own mind when you don't belong to yourself.

    8. so as to prove the existence of a germ in their minds which only wants cultivation.

      Side note: this is a fantastic line.

    9. Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race?

      Don't get me wrong, I love candy canes and peppermints as much as the next guy, but what ever happened to good ol' Ebony and Ivory, Tom???

    10. Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.

      "If we don't enslave them ... we have to kill them, right?"

    11. We will consider them here, on the same stage with the whites, and where the facts are not apocryphal on which a judgment is to be formed.

      Sure, judge them in the place that already thinks they're animals, that's fair.

    12. They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.

      He's making black people sound like animals and not "sophisticated lovers."

    13. They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning.

      Maybe they want to use some of their time to do something that is partly their own choosing! Sitting up and not working is a luxury!

    14. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us.

      Such a focus on why black people are the color black. I don't get why it matters. The Native American weren't strictly white, but they're still more accepted...also "scarf-skin" is such a strange term...

    15. they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expence, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniusses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of houshold and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independant people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength

      Is this talking about the forced integration of Native Americans into the white society?

    16. hence to construct the best evidence of the derivation of this part of the human race.

      He's very interested in ancestry and the progression of the human race, and races within the human race.

    17. It is to be lamented then, very much to be lamented, that we have suffered so many of the Indian tribes already to extinguish, without our having previously collected and deposited in the records of literature, the general rudiments at least of the languages they spoke.

      It's sad that so many Native Americans are dead because we missed the chance to write down their language? Come on, Jefferson. Priorities.

    18. produce and raise as many children as the white women.

      This makes women sound like a freaking baby production farm. I don't think Native American women pushing as many babies out of their bodies as white women necessarily means their life is better. Childbirth and motherhood are quite hard work, as well.

    19. The women are submitted to unjust drudgery. This I believe is the case with every barbarous people.

      And white women are not oppressed by white men in any way? By this reasoning, white men must be "barbarous people" as well.

    20. who he knows will treat him well

      How does he know that? When have the whites ever treated the Native Americans well (generally)?

    21. reduced to the same diet and exercise

      Still implying that the Native American is "beneath" the white man

    22. …Indian women, when married to white traders, who feed them and their children plentifully and regularly, who exempt them from excessive drudgery, who keep them stationary and unexposed to accident, produce and raise as many children as the white women. Instances are known, under these circumstances, of their rearing a dozen children. An inhuman practice once prevailed in this country of making slaves of the Indians…

      It sounds like he's saying, "We don't need to call these women our 'slaves' because they love work as is ... it's basically how they're programmed! Look at all the mouths they can feed!"

    23. but more from the information of others better acquainted with him, and on whose truth and judgment I can rely.

      Sounds questionable

    24. he meets death with more deliberation,

      Was his genocide HIS deliberation?