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A Solution? Jefferson Proposes Gradual Emancipation

Throughout his life, Jefferson privately endorsed a plan of gradual emancipation, by which all people born into slavery after a certain date would be freed and sent beyond the borders of the United States when they reached adulthood.

He published a short description of this plan in his book Notes on the State of Virginia.

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In his only published book, Jefferson recorded his views on race. Like many other 18th-century thinkers, Jefferson suspected blacks were inferior to whites. He wrote, “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct...

Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson, Stockdale edition, 1787.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation


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