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It appears that the sentence: Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Is an abridgement of something that Jefferson did write: The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and ...


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The official story is that the inscription is taken from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, with the last two sentences being from a letter to George Washington. A manuscript. The quote isn't some black-and-white assertion against slavery. Thomas Jefferson had complex and evolving relationships with slaves. He owned lots of them (inherited some 135 ...



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