Thomas Jefferson: Notes on the State of Virginia


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During the Revolutionary War, the Virginia General Assembly was working its way through the new state’s laws in an effort to scrub out those regulations that existed only because Virginia had inherited laws from Great Britain. No longer obliged to preserve Britain’s laws, Virginia placed the entirety of its legal code under review—including the ways in which slaves were passed from one member of the family to another through inheritance and how they were treated in the criminal code....