The research question I would choose would be, “Explain the relationship Thomas Jefferson had to slaves”. First, I would visit the Library of Congress website to look for specific documents that pertain to Thomas Jefferson and Slavery. I would then try to locate which articles would be the most useful in explaining the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and slaves in America. I would then look into The Digital Public Library of America website which, has articles directly showing Thomas Jefferson’s Attitude towards slaves and African Americans in General. As my research advanced the research question would develop into who Sally Hemmings was, and information pertaining to the relationship she had with her slaveholder, Thomas Jefferson. I would then search the Documenting the American South website to find additional information on Thomas Jefferson by searching for the general “Thomas Jefferson Slavery”. With the materials available, I would be able to explain that Thomas Jefferson did in fact have a very complicated relationship to not only slavery itself but with his own slaves as well. Thomas Jefferson being someone who was for the notion of all men being equal, while holding slaves and also having a non-consenting relationship with one of his own slaves. I would like to gain access into more primary sources from the time from either Thomas Jefferson or Sally Hemmings, in order to further my research and expand my knowledge of the relationship. This would allow me to be more thorough in answering the research question and give me first-hand accounts of Jefferson. The next step to the research process would be trying to compile all the information in an organized manner to effectively answer the question. This would mean taking notes on the sources I have obtained and attempting to formulate a concise answer to my research question.
One thought on “Blog Post 2”
I really like the intricacy of this question and how it focuses on Jefferson’s personal relationship to both perpetuating slavery while being so devoted to the revolution. You’re right in identifying the hypocrisy and paradoxical mindset of Jefferson, and being critically engaged in this complex history could help us not only better understand who he was; but how the ethos of the Revolution meant the freedom for some and the unfreedom of others. In pursuing this research question, your roadmap of finding primary sources online would be a great start. With a figure like Jefferson, his official “papers” and manuscript collection is probably easier to locate. Centering the perspectives, voices, and experiences of the people he enslaved would be more challenging, but just as important in addressing this question.