Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty

Front Cover
Joseph J. Ellis
Viking Studio, 2000 - History - 182 pages
1 Review
April 2000 will launch a panoply of events celebrating the Library of Congress's 200th anniversary, the star of which will be exhibition Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty. Featuring more than 150 valuable and historic items and a rare public display of the Jefferson library that is the nucleus of the Library's collections, both tine exhibition and its companion book will seek out the complex character, ideals, and motivations behind the mythic founding achievements of this brilliant son of the Enlightenment.

The book's lively narrative, illuminated by Jefferson's own words, weaves back and forth between the public career -- delegate to the Continental Congress, author of the Declaration of Independence and other calls to liberty, governor of Virginia, two-term president -- and his life at his beloved plantation and house, Monticello. Commentaries on manuscripts explore the conflicts between his public ideals, political realities, and his private life, including the recent controversial evidence of a long liaison with his slave Sally Hemings. From his worldview to his family relationships, Thomas Jefferson provides a new and intimate sense of the man historians have only recently begun to extricate from thc lofty abstractions that have born his name.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cyderry - LibraryThing

This book revolves around the character, ideals, and reasons behind the unique accomplishments of our third President. He believed that the greatest of these was being the writer of the Declaration of ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2000)

Joseph J. Ellis was born in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 1943. He earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1965 and a M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1969. He was an instructor in the department of American studies at Yale University from 1968 to 1969 and an assistant professor in the department of history and social studies at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1969 to 1972. He began his career at Mount Holyoke College as assistant professor in the department of history in 1972 and was made professor in 1979. Ellis was dean of the faculty at Mount Holyoke from 1980 to 1990. He is also a Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He has published articles, essays, reviews, and opinion pieces in such periodicals as American Heritage, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Civilization. He has appeared on C-SPAN and Fox News and was a participant in the 1997 Ken Burns PBS documentary "Thomas Jefferson." In 1997, Ellis published American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson and in 1998 he co-authored the article in Nature that accompanied the controversial study of the descendants of Jefferson and the slave Sally Hemmings. He has received several awards including the National Book Award in Nonfiction for American Sphinx in 1997 and the Pulitzer Prize for History for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation in 2001. Ellis' other works include Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, Random House, 2013); First Family: Abigail and John Adams, 2010; American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, 2007; His Excellency: George Washington, 2004; After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture; Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, 2000; What Did the Declaration Declare? (Historians at Work), editor and contributor, 1999.

Bibliographic information