Duality of Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson is celebrated as a wise and influential founding father. The foundation of our nation is built on Jefferson’s political engagement and our history as an independent nation is composed by the influence of his pen. History is filled with the accomplishments of fallible human beings; Jefferson is no exception. I am prepared to recognize significant flaws during Jefferson’s reign, and focus on the duality of Jefferson the philosopher versus Jefferson the politician. The philosopher filled our libraries with documents that cement the fundamental structure of our constitution. The politician acted with an acclimated understanding to run a centralized government sometimes requires action at odds with philosophical and moral belief. Jefferson was ambivalent about slavery throughout his career, yet he owned over 600 slaves throughout his lifetime. He believed in a limited government, and yet he expanded government authority more so than Washington and Adams. He was nicknamed, “Man of the People”, but he was born in a predominate family, and lived well outside his means throughout his life. The process of measuring the duality of Thomas Jefferson requires bendable interpretation, adaptability, and sense of time. There are considerable arguments for both sides. A man born of incredible skill and influence, but contradicted by central government power outside the Constitution and popular belief of a prosperous country built on the backs of slaves. An internal battle, I believe, he fought to his dying die. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 at Shadwell plantation in western Virginia. His first childhood memory is well documented; at the age of three, he accompanied his father and his father’s slave into the Virginia wilderness. Young Jefferson was born into a prosperous life, and took full advantage of his financial benefits by consuming his young

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