Thomas Jefferson and Slavery

Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote the famous line “all men are created equal,” was a life-long slave-owner. Over the course of his life, he would own 600 human beings, and at any given time there would be roughly 100 slaves living and working on and around Jefferson’s plantation and farms. This handout describes Thomas Jefferson’s views on slavery.

  • Resource Type: Descriptive Text, Media, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Who Lived at Monticello?

Thomas Jefferson and his family were not the only people living at Monticello. At any given time there would be about 100 slaves living and working on the plantation. This infograph gives a snapshot of inhabitants of Monticello in the 1790s.

  • Resource Type: Media, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Core Documents Collection: Documents and Debates 1493-1865

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1493-1865, and Volume Two covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Resources on Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and Broadway star, clashed with Thomas Jefferson politically and morally. But both figures were essential to the founding of the United States of America. Check out this page for resources on Jefferson, Hamilton, and other main players from the Broadway musical “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

  • Resource Type: Descriptive Text, Interactives, Media, Primary Sources, Timelines, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Turning Points in the American Revolution

This short video traces the crises of the 1760s (e.g., the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act) through to the relatively quiet early 1770s, culminating in the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Professor Jack Rakove emphasizes the role of individual in history. Governor Thomas Hutchinson forced a crisis—the Boston Tea Party–by insisting on strict enforcement of the Tea Act. He could have chosen a different tactic (as did other governors), but chose not to.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Famous Founders

This short video expands the definition of “famous Founder.” Men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison are readily considered to be famous. However, Professor Daniel Dreisbach suggests that individuals such as Roger Sherman, John Dickinson, John Witherspoon, and Elbridge Gerry are equally deserving of fame and honor for their contributions during our nation’s founding era.

  • Resource Type: Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11