Notes on the State of Virginia

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David Carlisle, 1801 - Indians of North America - 364 pages
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Available for the first time in Penguin Classics, Notes on the State of Virginia is at once a scientific discourse, an attempt to define America, and an examination of the idea of freedom. With the same genius and clear, flexible prose style that informs the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson chronicles Virginia's natural, social, and political history.Frank Shuffleton includes in this edition with selections from relevant correspondence and discusses the work's origins, composition, and initial reception. He focuses particularly on Jefferson's response to contemporary scientific writings on "New World degeneracy"; his differing treatment of Blacks and Native Americans; and his influential (and problematic) role in creating a mythicized American self-image. Copyright Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
 

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Page 96 - There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance: for my country I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear.
Page 241 - And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God ? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath ? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just ; that his justice cannot sleep forever...
Page 326 - Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion...
Page 326 - ... all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in His almighty power to do...
Page 327 - ... that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right...
Page 220 - History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men...
Page 27 - ... that in this place particularly they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley ; that continuing to rise they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from...
Page 241 - And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other.
Page 241 - For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another...
Page 326 - ... the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible...

About the author (1801)

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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