Founding Brothers

Jefferson and Adams were keenly aware of the growing sectional crisis in the country between the North and the South.

How did each man view slavery and the Missouri Compromise? Did the aging statesmen express their views publicly? Why so you think they chose this course of action?

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Both men anticipated the growing sectional crisis between the North and the South. Slavery was not a subject they discussed at length, and they in fact agreed it was a topic best reserved for the next generation to handle. The issue of the Missouri Compromise, which was being debated in the House of Representatives at the time of their correspondence, did spark a discussion between them. Jefferson believed that each state should determine whether to admit slavery. Adams, on the other hand, believed the federal government should eradicate it as a reflection of the spirit of the Revolution. Their philosophies would later be influential as the Civil War approached. Mostly, the men paid heed to the "silence" of slavery in their correspondence.