|Eyre Crowe, Slave Auction at Richmond, Virginia in |
Illustrated London News, 1856
Jefferson was acutely aware of the incongruity of his position and he looked forward to a time when slavery could be abolished. However, he was convinced that black people were inferior to whites, and he believed that their lack of intelligence and dark skin rendered them better able than whites to work in the heat of the South. It is not surprising, therefore, that his vision of republican liberty was not realised - it was too full of inconsistencies. In the following generations many of his fellow-southerners came to see slavery not as a necessary evil but as a positive good – so much so that they were prepared to fight a war to preserve what they called their ‘peculiar institution’.