Democracy and slavery.
the great leader of American Democracy, Thomas Jefferson
, was an ultra-abolitionist in theory, while from youth to age a slave-holder in practice.
With a zeal which never abated, with a warmth which the frost of years could not chill, he urged the great truths, that each man should be the guardian of his own weal; that one man should never have absolute control over another.
He maintained the entire equality of the race, the inherent right of self-ownership, the equal claim of all to a fair participation in the enactment of the laws by which they are governed.
He saw clearly that slavery, as it existed in the South
and on his own plantation, was inconsistent with this doctrine.
His early efforts for emancipation in Virginia
failed of success; but he next turned his attention to the vast northwestern territory, and laid the foundation of that ordinance of 1787, which, like the flaming sword of the angel at the gates of Paradise, has effectually guarded that territory against the entrance of slavery.
Nor did he stop here.
He was the friend and admirer of the ultra-abolitionists of revolutionary France
; he warmly urged his British friend, Dr. Price
, to send his anti-slavery pamphlets into Virginia
; he omitted no opportunity to protest against slavery as anti-democratic, unjust, and dangerous to the