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The United States of the United RacesA Utopian History of Racial Mixing$
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Greg Carter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772492

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772492.001.0001

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Thomas Jefferson’s Challengers

Thomas Jefferson’s Challengers

(p.19) 1 Thomas Jefferson’s Challengers
The United States of the United Races

Greg Carter

NYU Press

This chapter examines Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia and Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's Letters of an American Farmer. The Notes employed both science and law to defend the slave system and argued that free blacks “be removed beyond the reach of mixture; his argument became the standard for defending racial purity during the early republic.” On the other hand, Letters—written by a French immigrant who adopted the new nation—bound together mixture and newness as centrally American traits. Both articles present a descriptive mission and a prescriptive topic, with one defending racial purity and the other celebrating mixture.

Keywords:   Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters of an American Farmer, slave system, mixture, racial purity, free blacks

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