Thomas Jefferson stands as one of America's most important, and mysterious, figures. As the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the nation's first Secretary of State, its second vice-president and its third President, Jefferson's vision was crucial to the development of the American republic. However, Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves when he wrote the words, "...all men are created equal."
What then, are we to make of Thomas Jefferson as a patriot and champion of liberty? How are we to resolve the glaring contradiction of liberty and democracy in a slaveholding society to which Jefferson was a prominent symbol? Probing these questions is the dilemma of studying the life of Thomas Jefferson.
In your third 2-3 page paper, I would like you to try to make sense of Thomas Jefferson. Using his actions, words and writings as your guide, explain your view of Thomas Jefferson.