Enlightenment Influence: A Summary View of the Rights of British America

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A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1774.
Library of Congress

Drawing upon Enlightenment criticism of unlawful authority, Jefferson wrote this essay for the Virginia delegation to the First Continental Congress. He accused King George III of imposing illegal control over Virginia’s political decisions, including its desire to restrict or outlaw slavery. Jefferson wrote, “The abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies.”

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