Thomas Jefferson

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Slavery / Racism

Jefferson kept slaves, and made it clear in some of his writings that he did consider black people to be inferior mentally.

Jefferson's 1791-08-30 letter to Benjamin Banneker (in response to Banneker's 1791-08-19 letter to him) would seem to indicate that he was more than willing to consider evidence contradicting this view, but apparently in 1809 he reversed himself in letters to Henri Gregoire and Joel Barlow (texts needed).


The question of whether Jefferson was a Christian is often raised in debates between atheists and Christians.

structured debate

right-arrow debaticon Jefferson was a Christian.
up-arrow debaticon Jefferson's signing of his name beneath the quote "In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ" suggests that he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord.
down-arrow debaticon Designating the year as "the year of our lord" was common practice at the time, and signing underneath such an inscription is no more proof of belief than is someone paying with money inscribed "in God we trust".
down-arrow debaticon Source: [1]
"i" debaticon A source is needed for this actual wording, specifically the inclusion of the words "Jesus Christ".
up-arrow debaticon Jefferson's personal contributions to various Christian Churches suggest that he was a supporter of Christianity.
down-arrow debaticon Contributions to a church do not necessarily prove religious affiliation; atheist fantasy author Terry Pratchett contributed significant sums to his local church to help with its maintenance and upkeep.
"i" debaticon A source is needed regarding Jefferson's financial contributions to churches.
up-arrow debaticon Jefferson's authorship of the "Jefferson Bible" suggests that he was a Christian.
right-arrow debaticon Jefferson was not a Christian.
up-arrow debaticon This quote suggests strongly that he is not.
down-arrow debaticon Unfortunately, that quote does not appear to be authentic.
right-arrow debaticon Jefferson was not a conventional Christian.
up-arrow debaticon He disagreed with the idea of a virgin birth. (Source needed.)
up-arrow debaticon Jefferson's authorship of the "Jefferson Bible" suggests that he was more than willing to break with much of Christian doctrine.