Understanding Thomas Jefferson (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
10 Reviews

Recent biographies of Thomas Jefferson have stressed the sphinxlike puzzles of his character—famous champion of freedom yet lifelong slaveholder, foe of miscegenation yet secret lover of a beautiful slave for 30 years, aristocrat yet fervent advocate of government by the people. E. M. Halliday's absorbing and lucid portrait recognizes these and other puzzles about this great founder, but shows us how understandable they can be in light of his personal and social circumstances.

Halliday takes readers deep into Jefferson's private life—exploring his childhood, his literary taste, and his unconventional religious thinking and moral philosophy. Here, too, are his adamant opinions on women, the evolution of his ideas on democracy and freedom of expression, and fresh insights into his relationship with Sally Hemings.

  

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Review: Understanding Thomas Jefferson

User Review  - Sean Chick - Goodreads

A strangely shallow and disorganized book. It seems more interested in Jefferson's love life than anything else. The result is curiosity hemmed in by limp prose. The insights contained are scattered. Read full review

Review: Understanding Thomas Jefferson

User Review  - Ed Smiley - Goodreads

The point of this book was to hypothesize a three dimensional and plausible Jefferson. As a result, much of the book is speculative, but the basis for what it deems the most probable assertion is pretty clearly spelled out. Read full review

Contents

The Vaunted Scene of Europe
1
Surges of Youth
13
End of an Affair
81
8
89
Eros on the ChampsElysees
97
Return of the Natives
113
10
124
3
205
14
211
Two Cheers for Thomas Jefferson
220
History Fiction and Probability
240
Notes
251
Unchequered Happiness
254
Slave Masterand Racist
260
Acknowledgments
269
Copyright

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Page 126 - THE SACRED RIGHTS OF MANKIND ARE NOT TO BE RUMMAGED FOR AMONG OLD PARCHMENTS OR MUSTY RECORDS. THEY ARE WRITTEN, AS WITH A SUNBEAM, IN THE WHOLE VOLUME OF HUMAN NATURE, BY THE HAND OF THE DIVINITY ITSELF; AND CAN NEVER BE ERASED OR OBSCURED BY MORTAL POWER.
Page 227 - That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burthened, in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief...
Page 222 - HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, And Father of the University of Virginia ; because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.
Page 151 - I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.
Page 149 - The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and -thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.
Page 239 - All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.
Page 154 - Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us 264 into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.
Page 226 - What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Page 153 - ... continue with their parents to a certain age, then to be brought up, at the public expense, to tillage, arts, or sciences, according to their geniuses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper...
Page 72 - And to do it most effectually, you must be absolutely incognito, you must ferret the people out of their hovels as I have done, look into their kettles, eat their bread, loll on their beds under pretence of resting yourself, but in fact, to find if they are soft. You will feel a sublime pleasure in the course of this investigation, and a sublimer one hereafter, when you shall be able to apply your knowledge to the softening of their beds, or the throwing a morsel of meat into their kettle of vegetables.

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About the author (2009)

A longtime senior editor of American Heritage, E. M. HALLIDAY is the author of a memoir of the poet John Berryman and an account of the Allied invasion of Soviet Russia in 1918-19, as well as a number of articles for The New Yorker. He lives in New York City.

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