Thomas Jefferson & Frederick Douglass: Shaping US History - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-28
Thomas Jefferson & Frederick Douglass: Shaping US History - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History United States American history Thomas Jefferson
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 873 words
8 min read

Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglass are some of the personalities who shaped the history of the United States. Not only did Jefferson and Douglass played a role in advocating the rights of the slaves and bringing slavery to an end, but it also facilitated American independence. In his article, “Notes on State of Virginia” Jefferson offers a tremendous exposition of Virginia’s natural resources economy, politics, and the establishment of the functional republic through effective governance. In the same way, Douglass’ uses his speech, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” to provide insights regarding the significance of the Independence Day to the slaves. Throughout his speech, Douglass acknowledged the Founding Fathers of America for their commitment to life, liberty as well as the pursuit of happiness. A close look at the two works reveal that Jefferson’s article highly validates Douglass’ speech.

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In his speech, Douglass attempts to unmask the significance of Independence Day to the previously enslaved individuals. In contemplating the US’s genuine representation, Jefferson takes clip to formalize the nation’s interruption from their colonial mother, England. Ideally, he is offering a composition to the European Audience and what he perceived was the justification of the settlers. At the same time, it is critical to note that Jefferson addressed the bondage’s establishment and envisions a revelatory terminal. He acknowledged the importance of African Americans to the State of Virginia’s economic stability and the establishment of the Republican society to enhance all Americans’ prosperity.

In his assertion, Douglass offers an exposition regarding Douglass’s assertion regarding the establishment of the Republican American after the independence and the transformation of the slaves. The fascinating part of it is that Jefferson utilized the presumed danger of fractions as a tool to attract favour and facilitate the adoption of the new constitution through predominantly principles and the fundamental elements of republicanism. According to Jefferson, the US, just like other republics, would have more citizens and huge territories, thus allowing the diversity among its massive population. This decision would further mean that the formation of large and powerful fractions would be less likely (Morgan, 2012). Additionally, the government’s exercise through representatives instead of the citizen’s direct democracy would enhance public opinion by subjecting them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens who will exert authority depending on their interests and not people.

Jefferson asserts that the Founding Fathers believed and fronted the idea that functional deficiency of democracy is the rule of the majority that is highly unprotected. They referred this to as the “Tyranny of the Majority.” Thus, the republicanism was purely based on the notion that the majority cannot simply rule. In most cases, the majority would vote in the advantages and thus encourage the theft of the public resources and destruction of the minority. Therefore, Jefferson was trying to disapprove of the highly decentralized and more democratic state governments that were preventing the powerful and centralized government that he desired. In this way, therefore, he sought to condemn the localized government that would give people a platform to air their grievances and exercise their rule within the system. Not only was this good to the previously enslaved African American but also an opportunity to build a nation that would advocate the equality of all the Americans. In this way, this was an approach to respond to Douglass’ speech. Ideally, a less representative republic was the best alternative as it would establish a ruling ground for a small number of powerful individuals.

It is critical to note that the framers further believed that the government’s fundamental role was to secure the people in John Locke’s trilogy about life and property rights. They thus made extensive documentation about their desires to live under republicanism. For instance, on the property, Adams that the admission of an idea into society eliminates the sacredness of the property compared to the laws of God. Thus, there is no force of law or the majority justice to give it protection, anarchy, or tyranny commence. Therefore, the constitution was designed to extend the causes of liberty and not a direct democracy. For effectiveness, the constitution protected the rights of individuals from the government and other citizens. It further established explicit, unmistakable, and enforceable rules tailored towards the protection of individual rights and freedom.

In conclusion, Douglass' speech was effectively validated by Jefferson’s article. Jefferson offers a tremendous exposition of the Virginia’s natural resources, economy, and politics. Broadly he provides a mechanism through which the previously enslaved African American community could rise amid republicanism. It is evident that these assertions and development undeniably created a foundation for establishing today’s economy. The US’s constitution has transformed itself to become the protector of all the people's fundamental rights and not the few people as embedded under republicanism.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. What to the Slave is the 4th of July? South Chicago ABC Zine Distro, 2014.

Jefferson, Thomas, and William Harwood Peden. Notes on the State of Virginia. University of N. Carolina Pres., 2004.

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