Thomas Jefferson: Thoughts on War and Revolution : Annotated Correspondence

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Algora Publishing, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 313 pages
Philosopher, diplomat, politician, inventor, writer, architect, even gardener, from a historical perspective Thomas Jefferson emerges as an extraordinary individual one who was clearly many things to many people. But, too, precisely because of these same collective endeavors, he has become so much a part of America's ongoing search for itself, so deeply entwined in the tapestry of America's grand democratic experiment, that, in many instances, succeeding generations have been largely unable to picture him clearly and objectively in his own life and times. The most comprehensive portrait of the founding fathers can be seen in their personal letters and journal entries. Jefferson is no exception, and those he wrote concerning war and revolution through many of the most critical episodes in early American history are of singular importance. The format of the letters has been preserved whenever possible and, collectively, they provide a unique glimpse into the character and thought processes of Jefferson, warrior and revolutionary. Whether he is writing to peers such as James Madison, Patrick Henry and George Washington, to French associates such as the Marquis de Lafayette and Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, or even to British adversaries such as the American traitor Benedict Arnold and Sir Guy Carleton, the British Governor of Canada, Jefferson demonstrates a striking understanding of the issues. And whether the subject might be an argument for national retaliation, the treatment of prisoners of war or the application of blockades in naval engagements, he writes with remarkable clarity, insight and eloquence. As the text presents, in their entirety, the original written correspondence which succeeding generations of historians have repeatedly cited as the basis for the interpretation of events or conclusions of fact, Thoughts on War and Revolution is both a comprehensive reference resource, as well as a unique supplement to the existing literature.

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About the author (2009)

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.

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