Jefferson's life has come to symbolize America's struggle with racial inequality, his successes and failures mirroring those of his nation. The quest for a more honest and inclusive rendering of the American past has placed a heavy burden on Jefferson and his slaves. Generation after generation of Americans has sought some kind of moral symmetry at Monticello, some kind of reconciliation between slavery and freedom, black and white, past injustice and present compensation.
Copyright © 1993 University Press of Virginia. This book chapter first appeared in Jeffersonian Legacies.
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Ayers, Edward L. and Scot A. French. "The Strange Career of Thomas Jefferson: Race and Slavery in American Memory." In Jeffersonian Legacies, edited by Peter S. Onuf, 418-456. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.