Jefferson on Slavery
In “Was the Enlightenment Racist?” (July 9), Jonah Goldberg provides an insightful and nuanced account of the Enlightenment debate prompted by Jamelle Bouie’s Slate essay on recent books by Goldberg and Steven Pinker. I do take issue, however, with Goldberg’s characterization of slavery as “Jefferson’s blind spot.” To the contrary, Jefferson was well aware of the immorality of slavery and explicitly denounced it on more than one occasion.
In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson writes:
[The king has] waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s [sic] most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never