Thomas Jefferson's Notes On The State Of Virginia Analysis

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In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson discusses religion extensively. Jefferson defines freedom as allowing citizens to express themselves without fear of government or church persecution. He firmly believed in separation of church and state. Jefferson then goes on to use his religious beliefs to show that he prefers rural life to the urban life. Jefferson writes that, “Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar for substantial and genuine virtue” (165). Today, modern Americans see freedom the same as Jefferson did. All of the freedoms expressed in the First Amendment, which was heavily influenced by Jefferson’s beliefs, are still exercised …show more content…
The idea of freedom has expanded, however. Since the time of publication of the Notes on the State of Virginia, the Constitution and all freedoms associated with it have grown to encompass all peoples of the Unites States, as opposed to being limited to white land-owners. Thomas Jefferson’s situation regarding slavery was a curious one. He lived his entire life despising slavery, yet owned slaves himself. Throughout his life, Jefferson abhorred the idea of slavery. He writes, “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” (162). This is notable because his definition of slavery is directly contradictory to his own definition of freedom. Up until his death, Jefferson made efforts for complete emancipation of slaves, with the …show more content…
This is likely due to a combination of the original purpose of the book, answering the questionnaire on the states by Francois Marbois, and defending the wildlife of Virginia from the attacks made by Buffon. When discussing the wildlife of Virginia, Jefferson makes it a point to leave no room for ignorance on the parts of anyone who has a want to criticize Virginia. He writes. “Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong” (33). He specifically goes on to reject statements made by Buffon stating that the wildlife of Virginia was inferior to their European counterparts by providing scientific evidence that are contrary Buffon’s beliefs. His strong defense of Virginia is probably due to the fact that Virginia, along with the entire United States, is his home. Seeing that he took up arms to defend his home from a superior military force, it is not too unreasonable to assume that Jefferson would defend it from mere words on a

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