If you’ve ever seen a two dollar bill before, then you know that Thomas Jefferson is on it. You would think, to be on money our nation uses, he’d be a good guy. Actually, Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite. He said “All men are created equal” but then he had slaves. He could have given his own slaves rights or even just let them go but of course, instead of either he felt he needed them to keep his land. As with the Native Americans, Jefferson had built false trust and had even gotten them to believe he was working for them when in actuality he had been creating policies that endangered them. He had fooled many with his few but bold good actions, but Jefferson’s life, words and actions show he didn’t mean all men when he wrote those words.
Imagine being seated at a party in the presence of Thomas Jefferson as he spoke about freedom for all men. You’re drinking wine as Jefferson keeps doing a peculiar trick of when his wine bottle runs out, he puts it under the table; and he holds it back up and it’s full of wine again!
As described in the Smithsoian article, he did this trick to amuse his party guests but it was really just him using his slaves. The same person who pioneered freedom from Britain, he wasn’t even providing sleeping space or bedrooms for his own slaves.
If you had thought his lies with slaves was already as bad as one person could, go then be prepared because he backstabbed the Native Americans! He had built up the trust of the Native Americans by claiming that he would help them. Despite his supposed friendship with them, he had set up and supported federal policies that would take their land away from them. He had then relocated them to the west. Into lands that not only were unfamiliar to them but were already inhabited by other tribes.
Some may say that his actions were okay because he had written the Declaration of Independence, and freed us from British control. Although those are some good things that he did, we can’t pretend he was just a mere product of the times. Those holding him up as a pioneer of equal rights seem to forget his life which didn’t support it. If Jefferson had truly believed that all men were equal then he should have treated them all as such, not just white men. It’s okay to remember the good things he did while, at the same time, acknowledging he was not perfect and could have done more.
Just because Thomas Jefferson had done some good things in his life, it will never mean that he is a good person. He was unbelievable with how bad of a hypocrite he was! He had lied to the people saying that slavery was bad and then kept and treated his own slaves like furniture! He had lied to the Native Americans saying that he would help them, when he really just took their land and left them. In the end, Thomas Jefferson created a good movement but we can at least remember him as only being human.