Thomas Jefferson was an influential Virginia slaveholder, politician, and philosopher. He’s best remembered as the main author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, from 1801–1809. In Stamped, he’s also the second of the reader’s five main guides through the history of racist ideas. His relationship to racism and slavery was extremely complicated. He grew up on a plantation, surrounded by enslaved people, and he went on to own and trade enslaved people throughout his adult life. But he also famously wrote that “all men are created equal” and believed that slavery was cruel and immoral. He even publicly apologized for slavery after his presidency. But then he went home to live on his plantation, where he never freed the people he enslaved, because his finances depended on their labor. This shows how racism is primarily a method for powerful people to gain more power and make profit. Jefferson’s complicated mix of segregationism and assimilationism also shows that it was possible to oppose slavery while still being a racist.