Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Some [slaves] require a vigor of discipline to make them do reasonable work.

Generally, Jefferson was not in favor of whipping slaves, but this quotation shows that he essentially accepted the basic principles of Southern Slavery—including the one that says if the person does not want to work for you, you may whip, beat, or torture him or her to produce “reasonable work.” This acceptance of slavery and profiting from it, is the terrible blot on the record of the man who otherwise was among the few greatest of Americans.

Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, 3rd President of the United States (Democratic Republican, VA), Commenting on his view of the discipline of his slaves, Quoted in “Master of Monticello”, Smithsonian, October 2012

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Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
  • Born: April 13, 1743
  • Died: July 4, 1826
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: President

Thomas Jefferson was a statesman, diplomat, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had been elected the second vice president of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

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