8 Historical Figures Who Did Unspeakable Things

4. Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson was an intriguing figure. He penned some of history’s most stirring words in advocating freedom, liberty, and equality, that have inspired idealists for centuries. He also pursued his own happiness in a hilltop plantation, Monticello, leading a life of luxury, made possible by the labor of hundreds of chattel slaves.

However, the 3rd U.S. President also had a creepy relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, that today would be considered straightforward rape, as Hemings was kept in bondage by a brutal system in which violence was used to coerce compliance.

The worst part was the age difference between the duo (30 years): he was 44 when he started having sex with her, while she was 14. Adding another layer of creepiness, Jefferson’s child concubine was also his dead wife’s sister and lookalike. Sally Hemings was born to a slave woman and John Wayles, Thomas Jefferson’s father in law.

That made her the biological half sister of Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson. Sally, who was 9 when her half sister died, bore a striking resemblance to the deceased Martha, and the resemblance only increased as she grew. Jefferson missed his dead wife, so when her lookalike sister was 13 or 14, he started raping her.

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