The Mind of Thomas Jefferson

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University of Virginia Press, Jan 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 281 pages
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In The Mind of Thomas Jefferson, one of the foremost historians of Jefferson and his time, Peter S. Onuf, offers a collection of essays that seeks to historicize one of our nationís founding fathers. Challenging current attempts to appropriate Jefferson to serve all manner of contemporary political agendas, Onuf argues that historians must look at Jeffersonís language and life within the context of his own place and time. In this effort to restore Jefferson to his own world, Onuf reconnects that world to ours, providing a fresh look at the distinction between private and public aspects of his character that Jefferson himself took such pains to cultivate. Breaking through Jeffersonís alleged opacity as a person by collapsing the contemporary interpretive frameworks often used to diagnose his psychological and moral states, Onuf raises new questions about what was on Jeffersonís mind as he looked toward an uncertain future. Particularly striking is his argument that Jeffersonís character as a moralist is nowhere more evident, ironically, than in his engagement with the institution of slavery. At once reinvigorating the tension between past and present and offering a new way to view our connection to one of our nationís founders, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson helps redefine both Jefferson and his time and American nationhood.

  

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Contents

Thomas Jefferson Federalist
83
The Revolution of 1803
99
Thomas Jefferson and the Expanding Union
109
The Louisiana Purchase and American Federalism
121
Priestcraft Enlightenment
139
A Summary View
179
Thomas Jefferson Race and National Identity
205
Jefferson Morality and the Problem of Slavery with Ari Helo
236
Index
271
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, is author of Jeffersonian Legacies, Jeffersonís Empire: The Language of American Nationhood, and coauthor with Nicholas Onuf of Nations, Markets, and War: Modern History and the American Civil War (all Virginia).

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