Reply To: Thomas Jefferson: America’s most esteemed child predator

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Janet Marriott

I think the pertinent question is: did she ( a 15-year-old slave) have any right to say “yes’ Or “No” to her Master who was 30 years older and using her for sexual purposes (at the very minimum today, it’s called the right to give informed consent) Much of the concern about very young girls getting pregnant has to do with the girls physical readiness to carry and bear a child. In this case, the baby was delivered but died soon afterward. And if as you point out, the girl was a half-sister to Jefferson’s deceased wife / related to his own 9-year-old daughter the situation seems fairly murky, whether she was slave or free. What he did was clearly not socially acceptable even in slave times but because he was a powerful man he took advantage with impunity, He simply had sex and more children by her which he and generations of his family denied until DNA proved their denials were lies. Were these slave children freed in Jeffersons will or were they simply sold off? (no Jefferson wasn’t charged, convicted and sent to prison but the US was so against this sort of thing that we fought the civil war.)