There is no question Jefferson was a hypocrite, and I was not inferring it. I was stating it, and I think it’s so obvious the statement doesn’t really need any defense. What would YOU call someone who proclaims his hatred of slavery while simultaneously owning 200 human beings, and routinely selling off one or two whenever he wants some new furniture?
It is also fair to say there are reasons why he and others of his time were forced into a hypocritical position. And their hypocrisy was far preferable to the position many of their grandsons took of proclaiming slavery to be a positive good, working aggressively for its perpetuation and extension.
I have read perhaps a half dozen biographies each of Jefferson, Washington and Adams.
The more I learn about Washington and Adams, the greater my admiration for them, although frankly Adams got a little odd in his later years politically.
The more I learn about Jefferson the more I become aware of his hypocrisy, manipulativeness, cowardice and other unattractive traits.
He wrote the most magnificent rhetoric in all history in the cause of liberty. He was also pretty much of a dishonorable jerk. The former far outweighs the latter in the eyes of history, as it should, but as a man he falls far below the other two.
BTW, I recognize I was unclear in my comments on the OT and slavery. I wasn’t trying to say you were trying to justify slavery on this basis, but doing so was very common among defenders of slavery in the 19th century.
With the exception to the grandsons, I’ve read pretty much what you’ve stated.
I just didn’t see any hypocrisy in founders that inherited slaves, hated slavery but were forbidden by law from freeing them.
Selling them would not free them, naturally, but it would alleviate a sense of hypocrisy.
Yes, Washington and Adams were great. Washington was probably the greatest but they all had strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. Together they were all extraordinary.