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Notes on the state of virginia thesis

Students will examine the complexities of Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on race and his dual role of philosopher and politician. Jefferson was a very skilled writer who could use the written word to inspire and persuade.

  • These two statements tell us what we already know;
  • But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force.

His ability was widely known, which is why he was asked to pen the Declaration of Independence. This document is probably Jefferson's most extraordinary work. It is believed by many to be the most important document in American history and one of the most eloquent and influential expressions of liberty in world history. Another piece of Jefferson's writing is a book entitled Notes on the State of Virginia, published in 1784. Below are excerpts from these two writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Before viewing the film, direct students' attention to Jefferson's changing beliefs about race and slavery. The excerpts below reflect substantially different points of view on the topic of race. Students will analyze these two excerpts from Jefferson's writings and determine their significance. Declaration of Independence, 1776 "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

  • Jefferson may have thought his fears justified after the revolution in Haitimarked by widespread violence in the mass uprising of slaves against white colonists and free people of color in their fight for independence;
  • Students will do the challenging and exciting work of the historian by identifying facts what Jefferson wrote , speculating on motives and reasons why he wrote it , and determining significance what it means to us.

The following four thesis statements account for the differences in the excerpts. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group one thesis statement.

Each group will back up the statement with evidence from the film and other sources see Resources section. When they have assembled their arguments, representatives from each group will present and defend their thesis. Thomas Jefferson was a very shrewd politician. He knew what to say to whom in order to persuade them or gain their support. These two contradictory documents point to the complexities of Thomas Jefferson and other enlightened thinkers of his time.

Jefferson was drawn to the higher, more transcendent views and philosophies of the day, yet tethered by the harsh beliefs of race and class held by the Virginia aristocracy.

Notes on the state of virginia thesis. Notes on the State of Virginia - Wikipedia

These two statements tell us what we already know: Jefferson was a philosopher and a politician. Thomas Jefferson is clearly a confused individual, without any personal convictions.

He did not really know what he believed in, and was easily swayed by his peers. He wrote what others expected him to write. Jefferson genuinely held these beliefs when he wrote them. When writing the Declaration, he was younger and more idealistic. By the time he wrote the Notes, he realized that such visions were out of the realm of possibility for his day. Like many powerful intellectuals, Jefferson changed his mind.

Thesis Notes State Virginia

Assign an interpretive essay on these two excerpts. Students will do the challenging and exciting work of the historian by identifying facts what Jefferson wrotespeculating on motives and reasons why he wrote itand determining significance what it means to us.

Remind students of the importance of determining who the audience was for these two writings. Students will explore various criteria for choosing a president and determine which talents, experiences, and virtues are most important in choosing a president and evaluating a president's performance.

How do we evaluate a president? In recent years, there have been many opportunities to evaluate presidents, with several books, news stories, and films focusing on their private lives.

Sometimes, when critiquing a president, we may not consider all of the talents, experience, and knowledge that are needed to carry out the duties of this highest office. Some of the characteristics are required by the Constitution, while others are left up to the voters to determine their weight. It is important to consider all the qualities we seek in the president as we examine Thomas Jefferson and head into a new presidential election.

As a class, students will generate a list of the characteristics a president needs to have to be an effective leader. Encourage them to identify types of skills, experiences, character traits, and values. After they complete the list, share the characteristics provided below. Students will decide if they wish to add any from the list. Each student will rank the various characteristics as primary, secondary, or tertiary.

Required, most vital to executing the office of president. Preferred and important for success, but not required. Not necessary or important to executing the office. After each student sorts the characteristics into the three categories, he or she partners with a notes on the state of virginia thesis to discuss the similarities and differences between their rankings.

Class Discussion Ask the class these questions: How important are the private aspects of the president to you when choosing and evaluating a president?

  • He may not have been willing to say that Native Americans were more civilized than Europeans, but in his eyes they were far more complex than mindless savages;
  • Jefferson acknowledged that, Any offense against these is punished by contempt, by exclusion from society, or, where the case is serious, as that of murder, by the individuals whom it concerns;
  • If it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him;
  • Jefferson may have thought his fears justified after the revolution in Haitimarked by widespread violence in the mass uprising of slaves against white colonists and free people of color in their fight for independence;
  • In the American Colonization Society was founded in a collaboration by abolitionists and slaveholders.

How do you think most Americans feel? Based on the characteristics you chose, how will you evaluate the candidates in the next election? How much should personal indiscretions count when determining the success of a president's administration? Do the characteristics you ranked as primary share equal attention in the media spotlight? Were some of the characteristics more important in Jefferson's administration than in modern times?

Has the importance of these characteristics changed throughout American history?