U.S. President Thomas Jefferson Compares Blacks and Whites
About the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson a collection of his thoughts comparing blacks and whites.
FULL PORTRAITS OF SELECTED PRESIDENTS
JEFFERSON COMPARES WHITES AND BLACKS
"Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of color in the white race, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immovable veil of black that covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, and their own judgment in favor of the whites, declared by the preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Orangutan for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of superior beauty is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs and other domestic animals; why not in that of man? . . .
"They secrete less by the kidneys and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor. They seem to require less sleep. . . . They are more ardent after their female: but love seems with them to be more an eager desire, than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. In general their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labor. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course. Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to whites; in reason, much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless and anomalous. . . . The Indians will astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, and their imagination glowing and elevated. But never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration. . . .
"In music, they are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time. . . . I believe that disposition to theft with which they have been branded, must be ascribed to their situation, and not to any depravity of the moral sense. The man, in whose favor no laws of property exist, probably feels himself less bound to respect those made in favor of others. . . Notwithstanding these considerations which must weaken their respect for the laws of property, we find among them numerous instances of the most rigid integrity, and as many as among their better instructed masters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken fidelity. The opinion that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination must be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations . . . where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them."--From Notes on Virginia, 1785
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