Seeing Jefferson Anew: In His Time and Ours

University of Virginia Press
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Thomas Jefferson’s ideas have been so important in shaping the character and aspirations of the United States that it has proven impossible to think about the state of the nation at almost any moment without implicit or explicit reference to his words and actions. In similar fashion, each generation has understood Jefferson in the context of the central issues of its time. Jefferson has, for better or for worse, been a man for all seasons.

The essays in this collection seek to update and reevaluate several key aspects of Jefferson’s attitudes and policies in light of the newest research and at the same time take care to consider his ideas about such controversial topics as race, gender, and religion in the context of his own time and place. Simultaneously, the contributing authors analyze the relevance of Jefferson for our own age, conscious of how contemporary judgments about slavery, religion, and Native Americans, for example, shape our coming to terms with the nation’s history. Here is no simple search for a usable past, but instead a tough-minded but fair examination of a complex man who in fundamental ways represents both the promise and the problems of the American experience.

ContributorsJohn B. Boles, Rice University * Thomas E. Buckley, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at Berkeley * Andrew Burstein, Louisiana State University * Randal L. Hall, Rice University * Peter J. Kastor, Washington University at St. Louis * Jan Ellen Lewis, Rutgers University * Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia * Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy, Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies * Adam Rothman, Georgetown University * Eva Sheppard Wolf, San Francisco State University

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About the author

John B. Boles is William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University and the editor of the Journal of Southern History. Randal L. Hall is Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Rice University and managing editor of the Journal of Southern History.

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University of Virginia Press
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Published on
Aug 31, 2010
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History / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
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A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

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Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

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“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017. 
"A sweeping yet rigorous analysis of Dixon and his work. The collection approaches the southern intellectual through multiple methodologies -- from literary theory and film studies to social history and religious studies. We get an exhaustive yet diverse perspective on Dixon's influence and legacy." -- Journal of American History

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"An important and valuable addition to the literature on turn-of-the-century white supremacy." -- Journal of Southern History

 In 1891 William Marsh Rice made a generous bequest in order to found the distinguished Houston institution that bears his name. Ironically, this very bequest helped to bring about his murder, an act of treachery perpetrated by a conniving attorney and Rice’s naïve, malleable manservant. This captivating tale—full of intrigue, legal twists and turns, and sensational revelations—an important part of the full biography of Rice himself, received its first careful historical investigation by Andrew Forest Muir, a longtime professor of history at Rice University who, beginning in 1957, performed the fundamental research that forms the basis for this biography. At the time of Muir’s death in 1969, the work remained incomplete. Subsequently, at the request of the Rice Historical Society, Sylvia Stallings Morris shaped the fruits of Muir’s labor into the first edition of this book, which was published in 1972.

The new edition of William Marsh Rice and His Institute, edited by Randal L. Hall, returns this fine biography to print in connection with the celebration of the centennial of the opening of Rice University. Incorporating new and important sources unearthed since the publication of the original book, this revised edition retains all the flavor and meticulous care of the earlier work, especially the “finely crafted storytelling of Sylvia Stallings Morris Lowe and Andrew Forest Muir,” as characterized by Hall.

Rice University students, faculty, staff, and alumni; scholars and students of Houston, Texas, and regional history; and those interested in the history of American higher education will all welcome William Marsh Rice and His Institute: The Centennial Edition.

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