Jefferson/Hemmings Primary Source Essay

Paper instructions

Read Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher, by Jon Meacham, paying close attention to details about Jefferson’s relationship with his wife, his possible mistresses, his white offspring, and his possible mixed race offspring. Make notes about Meacham’s details about the different relationships. Then, using the sources Meacham used to write his book (these are listed in the recommended reading and websites in the book), see if those sources agree with Meacham’s details or present a different “story” about Jefferson, Sarah “Sally” Hemmings, and Sally’s children.

Write an essay of at least 5 paragraphs (5 paragraphs would result in a grade of 65.) about what you discover from your research (at least 5 separate sources, not Wikipedia, the textbook, or any other textbook). You must provide detailed examples from these other sources (with footnotes) where there is agreement and/or disagreement with Meacham. Your essay must include your opinion about Jefferson’s relationship with Hemmings based on their age difference, master/slave relationship, and Jefferson’s other relationships with women after his wife’s death that are justified by the facts you discover from your research.

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This assignment will help you understand bias and how historians interpret facts. The essay should be detailed enough to complete the assignment, include footnotes, and your list of sources.


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