Early American History Seminar Thomas Jefferson, Lawyer: Property and Personhood in the Law of Slavery 7 October 2014.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis Comment: Malick Ghachem, MIT

This paper analyzes the complex relationship between Thomas Jefferson’s legal career and his ownership of slaves. Jefferson used the law to manage people as his property, but he never repudiated their essential personhood. The governmental structure of the day made open political assault on slavery inconceivable, but Jefferson as a lawyer was able to use the legal system to mitigate its harshest features and to lay the foundation for an expanded antislavery jurisprudence in the future.