Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy
"An exceptionally well-researched and persuasively written book [that] asks who Jefferson was in new and exciting ways. This is a book that needed to be written, and, happily, is one that was undertaken by an exceedingly thorough, judicious, open-minded, and creative historian."—Andrew Burstein, University of Tulsa, author of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello
"Francis D. Cogliano’s splendid book demonstrates that history is indeed an argument between past and present about the future. Offering formidable research deployed with grace and skill in the service of a powerful and well-crafted argument, this study will be essential reading. It illuminates in myriad ways the history that Jefferson made and historians’ ongoing struggles to figure out what to make of Jefferson. Further, it enriches our understanding of the interactions between history and memory in American culture. It deserves a wide and enthusiastic readership, not just for the moment but for years to come."—R. B. Bernstein, New York Law School, author of Thomas Jefferson
"Thomas Jefferson continues to enthrall, excite, and enrage academics, students, and members of the American public. This book provides a useful study of Jefferson’s construction of his own historical image, and the reconstructions of that image that have occurred over the past half-century."—Simon Newman, University of Glasgow
In Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy Francis D. Cogliano looks at both the impact Jefferson had on his historical moment and the considerable lengths to which he went to secure his legacy.
Beginning by locating Jefferson’s ideas about history within the context of eighteenth-century historical thought, Cogliano then considers the efforts Jefferson made to shape the way the history of his life and times—which he thought crucial to the success of the republican experiment—would be written. The second half of the book reflects on the mixed results, from his time to the present, of Jefferson’s efforts to shape historical writing, through his careful preservation of most of his personal and public papers, and through the institutions he left behind: his home, Monticello, and the University of Virginia. Engaging with recent scholarship’s attention toward Jefferson’s views on race, class, and gender, Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy is a must-read for anyone interested in Jefferson in his own time or the legacy he worked so hard to create.
Francis D. Cogliano is a Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh. He is author of Revolutionary America, 1763–1815: A Political History.