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This quote suggests that Thomas Jefferson believed the poor were often exploited and taken advantage of by the rich in society. He appears to be criticizing the tendency of wealthy members of society to “prey” upon and essentially consume the economic resources and well-being of the poor for their own gain.
By describing this behavior as something no other animal engages in besides “man”, Jefferson portrays it as unnatural and harmful. The quote conveys Jefferson’s view that inequality could lead to abuse, with those in poverty vulnerable to exploitation by the rich for monetary benefit according to his experience.