The real Thomas Jefferson was an ordinary man, with all the usual failings. Molded by the culture of the Virginia planter class, he fought against tyranny while oppressing his own slaves. He institutionalized racist attitudes, bickered with his rivals, lusted after other men's wives, and kept his own mixed-race children in bondage. Yet his accomplishments are too spectacular to be denied. The Declaration of Independence, the Louisiana Purchase, he even abolished taxes (for a while).