Thomas Jefferson's Affair With Sally Hemings

2323 Words May 4th, 2016 10 Pages
Many historians and American alike tend to encircle the Founding Fathers of this nation in a shield of untouchable morality. With Thomas Jefferson, there is a particularly strong need for him to be seen as a man of outstanding character. However, Jefferson’s personally life has long been plagued with stories of controversy, particularly his intimate life involving one of his slaves, Sarah, or Sally, Hemings. By examining the relationships of Thomas Jefferson, with strong attention to the Hemings family, it becomes clear that his intimate life is one of America’s greatest historical scandals. In order to fully understand the most publicized controversy surrounding Thomas Jefferson, his affair with Sally Hemings, it is important to grasp his relationships with other women in his lifetime. In a work dedicated specifically to the women of Jefferson’s life, historian Jon Kukla outlines the struggles that Jefferson experienced when faced with the building relationships with young women. He offers information regarding Jefferson’s intimate life that many biographical texts do not include. His argument reaches beyond Sally Hemings and Martha Jefferson; it begins with Jefferson’s youth, and his uncomfortable experiences with girls during his teen years. The first relationship that Thomas Jefferson ever hoped to engage in was with a young woman by the name of Rebecca Burwell. Kukla traces Thomas Jefferson’s problematic relationships with women to the hopes that he had experienced…
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