In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father. Situating Jefferson within the context of America's evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years, Hitchens brings the character of Jefferson to life as a man of his time and also as a symbolic figure beyond it. Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy. Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense. In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.
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This short but richly detailed memoir by Thomas Jefferson offers a rare autobiographical glimpse into the fascinating mind of this Founding Father during the tumultuous events of his remarkable public career. In addition to being America's third President, Jefferson was Minister to France during the early stages of the French Revolution, wartime Governor of Virginia, Washington's Secretary of State and Vice President during the John Adams administration. This new edition of the Autobiography includes an essay on Jefferson by historian Elbert Hubbard.
This work is a new edition of Thomas Jefferson's literary commonplace book, a notebook of his literary and philosophical reading. Unlike the only previous edition, published in 1928, it contains full annotation, pertinent information on the authors and works commonplaced, and a rationale for dating the entries. Thus it is now possible to show that most of the four hundred seven passages were entered when Jefferson was a young man, between the ages of fifteen and thirty. As such, they reflect the range of his literary interests from his school days to about the time of his marriage and involvement in politics. As one of the few surviving documents from Jefferson's early years, this notebook assumes special importance as a source of insight into the least known period of his life. In the introduction the editor presents reasons for thinking that the commonplace book was more to Jefferson than a literary sampler and was in some respects a deeply personal notebook with direct connections to the emotional events and preoccupations of his formative years. In addition to the text and annotation, the book contains a register of authors and an illustrated essay on Jefferson's handwriting that provides the rationale for assigning approximate dates to the entries of the commonplace book. Originally published in 1989. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
An illustrated adaptation of the best-selling "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" introduces the third president's life and political philosophies while offering insight into his achievements as a lawyer, ambassador, and scientific innovator.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power. Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history. The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity—and the genius of the new nation—lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President’s House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion. The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world. Praise for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power “This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written.”—Gordon S. Wood “A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but also Jefferson the man, humanized as never before.”—Entertainment Weekly “[Meacham] captures who Jefferson was, not just as a statesman but as a man. . . . By the end of the book . . . the reader is likely to feel as if he is losing a dear friend. . . . [An] absorbing tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor “This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
As soon as Thomas Jefferson learned to read, he found his passion: books, books, and more books! Before, during, and after the American Revolution, Jefferson collected thousands of books on hundreds of subjects. In fact, his massive collection eventually helped rebuild the Library of Congress—now the largest library in the world. Barb Rosenstock's rhythmic words and John O'Brien's whimsical illustrations capture Jefferson's passion for the written word as well as little-known details about book collecting. Author and artist worked closely with experts to create the first picture book on Jefferson's love of reading, writing, and books. An author's note, bibliography, and source notes for quotations are also included.
A short biography of Thomas Jefferson covers such topics as his life as a Virginia gentleman, his passionate belief in democracy, his defense of slavery, his relationship with Sally Hemings, and his contributions to America as a writer, inventor, and party leader.
Thomas Jefferson's Farm Book chronicles more than fifty years of agriculture, slavery, and light industry on Jefferson's Virginia plantations. The late Edwin Morris Betts embellishes Jefferson's original farm journal with relevant letters, diagrams, and records selected from Jefferson's public and private writings. Organized topically and richly annotated, this wide-ranging volume is the most complete record of plantation activity in early America.
The definitive life of Jefferson in one volume, this biography relates Jefferson's private life and thought to his prominent public position and reveals the rich complexity of his development. As Peterson explores the dominant themes guiding Jefferson's career--democracy, nationality, and enlightenment--and Jefferson's powerful role in shaping America, he simultaneously tells the story of nation coming into being.
Following Thomas Jefferson from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to his retirement in Monticello, Joseph J. Ellis unravels the contradictions of the Jeffersonian character. He gives us the slaveholding libertarian who was capable of decrying mescegenation while maintaing an intimate relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings; the enemy of government power who exercisdd it audaciously as president; the visionarty who remained curiously blind to the inconsistencies in his nature. American Sphinx is a marvel of scholarship, a delight to read, and an essential gloss on the Jeffersonian legacy.