Jefferson Vs. Douglass on Ending Slavery Comparison Essay by Nicky

Jefferson Vs. Douglass on Ending Slavery
A comparison of the views and actions of Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglass regarding slavery and its abolition.
# 148661 | 1,995 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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The paper discusses how although Thomas Jefferson believed firmly that slavery was evil and should ultimately be eradicated, he harbored deep-seated prejudices against African-Americans, feeling strongly that Blacks were inherently inferior to Whites, and these convictions no doubt slowed his pursuit of abolition as a real-world goal. The paper then looks at Frederick Douglass' fight for the rights of African-Americans to be treated as equals of Whites, and points out that Douglass took for granted the idea that African-Americans possessed the same potentials as other Americans. The paper shows how Jefferson talked more than he acted, while Douglass backed up his own rhetoric with action. The paper also highlights how Jefferson set a pattern that, in ways, persists today, wherein old biases persist alongside stated goals of equality and opportunity.

From the Paper:

"Slavery is perhaps the most contentious issue in American history. A terrible reality from the earliest days of colonization up till the Civil War, its after effects continue to define American society today. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson boldly proclaimed the new American nation to be founded on the fundamental rights to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Yet, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Like many of the founding fathers, he sought to reconcile the idea of a society that countenanced the ownership of human beings with a society that declared itself dedicated, first and foremost, to principles of equality and democracy. Jefferson was an aristocratic Virginia planter who possessed numerous slaves. He is believed to have been the father of still more slaves through his reputed slave concubine, Sally Hemings."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anderson, James D. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
  • Appleby, Joyce, and Terence Ball, eds. Thomas Jefferson, Political Writings. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Brodie, Fawn M. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.
  • Documents of American Prejudice: An Anthology of Writings on Race from Thomas Jefferson to David Duke. Ed. S. T. Joshi. New York: Basic Books, 1999.
  • Freehling, William W. The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854. Vol. 1. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Jefferson Vs. Douglass on Ending Slavery (2011, October 28) Retrieved December 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Jefferson Vs. Douglass on Ending Slavery" 28 October 2011. Web. 09 December. 2023. <>