Notes on the State of Virginia

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Palgrave Macmillan, 2002 - History - 230 pages
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Thomas Jefferson published one book, Notes on the State of Virginia, and ever since, it has been the touchstone for understanding Jefferson's ideas about republican government, the environment, education, race and slavery, and Native-white relations. This edition is the first to present these issues as fundamentally inseparable matters. A collection of lively documents accompanies the core text of the Notes, and charts the evolution of the book in the revolutionary crucible and during the heady early days of the new nation. An introduction by David Waldstreicher places the work in the contexts of the Revolution and the social and cultural history of Jefferson's Virginia, with particular attention to developing ideas about race and nature. A chronology of the life and career of Thomas Jefferson and selected bibliography also add to the pedagogical benefits of this volume.

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Given merely a cursory overview, it is made nearly undeniably apparent that Jefferson suspected negros to be inferior to whites in both body and mind. Furthermore, he maintains that it would be better, once negros/slaves are set free, they "are to be removed beyond the reach of [blood] mixture". A precursor of the eugenics movement perhaps?
ref. pp. 180-181
Know your history.

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About the author (2002)

David Waldstreicher is Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame.

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