Throughout Ruffin’s life there is an apparent change in his feelings towards the practice of slavery. While he was young, letters from his father show a relative sorrow for the fate of slaves. By the time that Ruffin became a judge on the North Carolina Supreme Court, there was an introduction of “excitement” on the slave question which allowed Ruffin to associate more with the pro-slavery side. While Ruffin saw slavery as a necessary evil at this time, he did not like brutality towards slaves and did not capitalize when he had the chance to completly outlaw it. By saying that the courts would have no ability to change conditions under the law and that other avenues such as religion, economics, morality, and society would provide better results, he simply avoided the question. The major problem that arises in this ruling is other courts used State v. Mann as a precedent that allowed unwarranted brutality towards slaves. Later in his life, Ruffin embraced the notion that slavery was a good for society. He believed that the institution of slavery allowed blacks to become civilized and a religious people.
It is the wish of the author that more scholarship will be added to this aspect of Thomas Ruffin's life. Examining the changing views of slavery in Ruffin's eyes is an aspect of his life that has not had a lot of scholarship.