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Over The Course Of Evaluating America’S History, Much Time

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Over the course of evaluating America’s history, much time has been spent deliberating Thomas Jefferson’s motives and actions in regards to slavery and its possible abolition. This topic has become a very polarized subject as some feel he was a clear abolitionist obstructed by a time during which popular opinion was distinctly in favor of slavery; others believe his claim to be a humane philanthropist was just a front as his actions so evidently played into supporting the system which he claimed to be “unjust.” Two articles which address these opposite views are Dumas Malone’s, “The Hopes and Fears of a Slaveholder,” and William Cohen’s, “Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Slavery.” Furthermore, some feel as though new evidence has…show more content…
Malone particularizes Jefferson’s view of emancipation. He feared pursuing any public calls to action without being fully prepared with a practical and realistic plan. As clarified by Malone, Jefferson, “was one of the first Americans to propose a specific plan of emancipation” (Malone 164). However, this plan was not practical for presenting to legislature at the present time due to the favorable views of slavery held by the vast majorities of Southern Americans. Malone further supports Jefferson as a silent abolitionist, discussing the motivational advices he offered to a younger Virginian, Edward Coles, in private letters on the topic of the institution of slavery. Jefferson was aware of the injustice set forth on slaves through the institution of slavery, but was also mindful of the public opinion which he was unable to change. Malone’s article demonstrates how Jefferson treated his slaves differently and instead privately encouraged future generations to amend the atrocity that was slavery. Another article which deliberates on Thomas Jefferson’s remarks and actions towards slavery is William Cohen’s, “Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Slavery.” Cohen’s article addresses many of the same points discussed in Malone’s article; however, Cohen tends to hold Jefferson more accountable. Throughout his article, Cohen describes the ways in which Jefferson’s actions were often
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