SIR, I AM fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom, which I take with you on the present occasion; a liberty which seemed to me scarcely allowable, when I. Benjamin Banneker was one man who stood out in the efforts to end slavery. He did so in writing a strongly worded letter to Thomas Jefferson that exclaimed his opinions and feelings. Banneker used an appeal to pathos, repetition, and religious appeals to argue against slavery. Banneker wrote a now-famous letter to Thomas Jefferson on August 19, , arguing eloquently that " however variable we may be in Society or religion.


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Africans in America/Part 2/Banneker's Letter to Jefferson

It was now that your abhorrence thereof was so excited, that you publicly held forth this true and invaluable doctrine, which is worthy to be recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages: And now, Sir, although my sympathy and affection for my brethren hath caused my enlargement thus far, I ardently hope, that your candor and banneker letter to jefferson will plead with you in my behalf, when I make known to you, that it was not originally my design; but having taken up my pen in order to direct to you, as a present, a copy of an Almanac, which I have calculated for the succeeding year, I was unexpectedly and unavoidably led thereto.

This calculation is the production of my arduous study, in this my advanced stage of life; for having long had unbounded desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature, I have had to gratify my curiosity herein, through my own assiduous application to Astronomical Study, in which I need not recount to banneker letter to jefferson the many difficulties and disadvantages, which I have banneker letter to jefferson to encounter.

I considered it as a document, to which your whole color had a right for their justification, against the doubts which have been entertained of them. No body wishes more than I do, to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men; and that the appearance banneker letter to jefferson the want of them, owes merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa and America.

  • To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August
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  • Thomas Jefferson's A Letter to Benjamin Banneker by Sonnithia Springer on Prezi
  • To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Banneker, 19 August 1791

The engineer had written Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although banneker letter to jefferson were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves.

It was a question which the future president chose not to debate with the banneker letter to jefferson Inhe had the letters between Jefferson and himself printed in his annual almanac.


These periodicals contained not only tables of tides and weather, planetary cycles and astronomical calculations, but also essays and poetry by the African American poet Phillis Wheatley and the English anti-slavery poet William Cowper, and anti-slavery speeches and essays from England and America.

Benjamin Banneker was an African-American mathematician, surveyor, astronomer, and publisher of a popular almanac. Banneker wrote a banneker letter to jefferson letter to Thomas Jefferson on August 19,arguing eloquently that " I have taken the liberty of sending your almanac banneker letter to jefferson Monsieur de Condorcet Encouraged by George Ellicott and his brother Elias, a member of the Maryland Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Banneker prepared an ephemeris for the year that caught the attention of Major Andrew Ellicott, a cousin of the Ellicott brothers.


Banneker soon won the support of several leading Quaker abolitionists in Maryland and Pennsylvania who were eager to take advantage of his scientific work to refute the growing belief in American society banneker letter to jefferson blacks were intellectually inferior to whites by nature Banneker to Andrew Ellicott, 6 May ; Joseph Townsend to James Pemberton, 14 and 28 Nov.

Buoyed by the prospect of further support from key figures in the Maryland and Pennsylvania antislavery movements, Banneker banneker letter to jefferson a second ephemeris in June It was thus against this background of careful and intense preparation that Banneker wrote the above letter and sent a copy of his ephemeris for to the man who was not only a distinguished statesman, scientist, and critic of slavery in his own right, but also the author of the recent pessimistic analysis of black intellectual capabilities Elias Ellicott banneker letter to jefferson James Pemberton, 10 June and 21 JulyPHi: Pennsylvania Abolition Society Papers; Notes, ed.

TJ continued to think about Banneker. Nor can banneker letter to jefferson be much doubt that he experienced increasing difficulty in reconciling his ownership of slaves with his libertarian political principles.

Thus TJ was an early exemplar of the classic American dilemma of whether the equalitarian ideals of the Declaration of Independence were intended to apply to all members banneker letter to jefferson American society or to whites only see Jordan, White over Black, p.

Miller, The Wolf by the Ears:

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