Papers, Volume 28

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Princeton University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 688 pages

This volume brings Jefferson into retirement after his tenure as Secretary of State and returns him to private life at Monticello. He professes his desire to be free of public responsibilities and live the life of a farmer, spending his time tending to his estates. Turning his attention to the improvement of his farms and finances, Jefferson surveys his fields, experiments with crop rotation, and establishes a nailery on Mulberry Row. He embarks upon an ambitious plan to renovate Monticello, a long-term task that will eventually transform his residence.


Although Jefferson is distant from Philadelphia, the seat of the federal government, he is not completely divorced from the politics of the day. His friends, especially James Madison, with whom he exchanges almost sixty letters in the period covered by this volume, keep him fully informed about the efforts of Republican county and town meetings, the Virginia General Assembly, Congress, and the press to counter Federalist policies. An emerging Republican opposition is taking shape in response to the Jay Treaty, and Jefferson is keenly interested in its progress. Although in June, 1795, he claims to have "proscribed newspapers" from Monticello, in fact he never entirely cuts himself off from the world. At the end of that year, he takes pains to ensure that he will have two full sets of Benjamin Franklin Bache's Aurora, the influential Republican newspaper, one set to be held in Philadelphia for binding and one to be sent directly to Monticello.


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Contents

From George Washington 1 January
3
From Harry Innes 21 January
9
To James Innes 3 February
15
Copyright

72 other sections not shown

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About the author (2000)

Politician, philosopher, farmer, architect, and author, Jefferson was born to Peter and Jane Randolph Jefferson on April 13, 1743, in Tuckahoe, Virginia. As Jefferson observed in his autobiography, his parents could "trace their pedigree far back in England and Scotland." At the age of 16, Thomas Jefferson entered William and Mary College; at age 24, Jefferson was admitted to the bar; at 25, he was elected to the Virginia Assembly. Renowned for his political contributions to the American colonies, and later, to the embryonic Republic, Jefferson published in 1774 A Summary View of the Rights of British America, celebrating the inalienable natural rights claimed by the colonialists. In 1775 Jefferson was elected to the Continental Congress; in 1776 he joined the five-person committee responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence---a document that is widely regarded as being largely Jefferson's own work. In 1779 Jefferson was elected governor of the state of Virginia, and in subsequent years he distinguished himself both as a cosmopolitan international politician and as a man committed to the future of Virginia. In 1789 he was appointed U.S. secretary of state, in 1797 he served as vice president under President John Adams, and in 1801 he was elected third president of the United States. Jefferson's literary career was no less stellar than his political accomplishments. He authored tracts and books on such diverse subjects as gardening, the life of Jesus, the history of Virginia, and the practices of farming. The precise descriptions of nature that inform his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787) are frequently credited with foreshadowing the Hudson River school of aesthetics. Thomas Jefferson died on the fourth of July. His grave marker, engraved with words of his own choosing, states, "Here lies Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.

JULIAN P. BOYD (1903 - 1980) was editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. GERARD W. GAWALT is a Library of Congress manuscript historian and specialist on Jefferson and early American history.

L. H. Butterfield was editor in chief of The Adams Papers.

John Catanzariti edited the Jefferson Papers while he was Senior Research Scholar at Princeton University. The Associate Editors of this volume are Eugene R. Sheridan, J. Jefferson Looney, James P. McClure, and Elaine Weber Pascu. Barbara B. Oberg, Senior Research Scholar at Princeton University, is the General Editor of "The Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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