Thomas Jefferson’s Early Political Initiatives, by James C. Thompson


Author: James C. Thompson | Show Publication detailsHide Publication details

Cloth Edition
  • ISBN: 978-0-9854863-5-8
  • Library of Congress Control Number: 2013946748
  • Publication Date: October 15, 2015
Epub Edition
  • ISBN: N/A
  • Publication Date: October 15, 2015
Paperback Edition:
  • ISBN: Not yet Available
  • Library of Congress Control Number: Not yet Available
  • Publication Date: Not yet available
  • Dust Jacket: Color
  • Illustrated: Black & White
  • Portrait: 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages: 300
  • Images: 20
  • Illustrated: Black & White
  • Portrait: 6.0 x 9.0
  • Pages: 300
  • Images: 20

    In American history, only George Washington has received more public recognition than Thomas Jefferson. Yet, for all the acclaim, no American is more shrouded in mystery than Jefferson. Merrill Peterson echoed sentiments common among his biographers when he observed that, “it is a mortifying confession, but he remains for me, finally an impenetrable man.” How could someone whose published papers fill more than fifty volumes conceal his essential character from a scholar who spent his working life searching for it? Jefferson was a complex man.

    Thompson argues, however, that he became mysterious only whenscholars began transforming him into a monument in the mid-20th century. Thompson avoids Peterson’s dilemma by following Jefferson through the two private rebellions he conducted during his early political career—against the monarchy of England, the other against the “pseudo-aristocracy“ of Virginia. Thompson’s readers become familiar with the political logic that guided young Jefferson through these carefully veiled insurgencies.

    By examining the works Jefferson produced one after another alone in his study, readers see the continuity of his thinking, and they find that he was not guided by the principles of human rights he is now praised for inventing. They discover instead that the author of the Declaration of Independence was motivated by a fierce determination to defend his prerogative to pursue his own happiness.

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