book reviews on books I've read
Master of the Mountain by Henry Wiencek addresses the paradox that the author of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. Jefferson realized that his slaves yielded a 4 percent profit for him because of their reproduction. Unlike George Washington, who freed his slaves after hearing Jefferson’s 4 percent profit analysis, Jefferson persisted as master of the house. He never rectifies his status as governor of Virginia or as president of the United States.
While this is an interesting paradox, I cannot recommend this book because much of this is covered in the first two chapters. The book fails to hold interest throughout because we know the outcome. Jefferson never frees his slaves, regardless of the fact that his slaves saved Jefferson and his property during the American Revolution. The book does reference Notes on the State of Virginia, however, Jefferson’s only published book, which may yield interesting reading.
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