When it comes to their personal lives, Thomas Jefferson surely takes the cake for me. Imagine going to Paris with your family and bringing along a young and pretty slave girl.
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And starting a sexual relationship with her when she is as young as 14, repeatedly impregnating her. Her name was Sally Hemings. And since Jefferson ‘owned’ her, and she was a teenager when things started, it made him a rapist. The children she birthed him as well as their mother, were his physical property. He literally owned his underage sex slave and the children she birthed him…
He also denied the children were even his, to begin with. Denied the girl was anything more than “just a servant”. I say that’s pretty damn cruel and inhumane. When Jefferson began sleeping with Hemings,
He was 44 and she was a mere 14. It was by law declared illegal for slaves to refuse sexual intercourse with their masters. Sally was literally the same age as some of Jefferson daughters
Thomas Jefferson fathered six children by Sally Hemings. Four of these survived to see adulthood, later marrying and having children of their own. Some ‘passed’ as white, Hemings herself having been of about 50% caucasian heritage herself. Others married into black families. Both sides hid their heritage, and Jefferson had many notes and diaries destroyed.
He never legally freed his own children. Nor Hemings, who died a slave. As an old man near death, Jefferson seems to have developed a sense of guilt and put one of his daughters on a stagecoach with fifty dollars.
She ended up living life as a free woman. But by all accounts, I find the way Thomas Jefferson treated his mistress-slave-victim and his own children appallingly cruel.