In his autobiography, begun in 1821 at the age of 77, Jefferson presents a detailed account of his young life and the period during which he wrote the Declaration. A first draft of the document is included in this edition, as are his comments on the Articles of Confederation, his experiences as a wartime governor of Virginia, minister to France and observations during the French Revolution. Also featured here are rich remembrances and insights as Jefferson recalls his roles as Washington's secretary of state and vice president under John Adams, and his life in retirement.
Fascinating as a trove of firsthand recollections by a pillar of American democracy, this highly recommended volume will be welcomed by students, scholars, and any reader interested in American history.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Jefferson undertook his self-appointed task in 1794, consulting not only the King James Bible but also Greek, French, and Latin versions. He selected verses from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and arranged them in chronological order to form a single narrative. Although Jefferson shared his interpretation with friends and family, he declined to publish it, in keeping with his conviction that religion is a private matter—and also to avoid providing his political enemies with ammunition. Not until the turn of the twentieth century did the book appear in print, when it became a tradition to present it to new members of Congress. Unique and influential, this volume reflects not only the thinking of one of the nation's most brilliant statesmen, but also the ideology of the Enlightenment era.
"To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." -Thomas Jefferson, 1803
With these words, written to a personal friend, Thomas Jefferson began one of the most audacious religious experiments in American history. On and off for the next seventeen years (including his term in the White House), Jefferson cut and pasted the philosophy of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Scripture, into one compact statement. He purposefully omitted any references to the virgin birth, miraculous healings, demonic possession, or supernatural events of any kind. His aim was to distinguish the moral philosophy of Christ from the religion that was later created around Christ.
This hardcover replica of The Jefferson Bible restores to print a handsome, immensely accessible version of Jefferson's manifesto as it was published for general readers in 1940 by Grosset & Dunlap. This volume includes the original 1940 foreword by editor Douglas E. Lurton, which provides an engaging introduction to the history behind Jefferson's effort. Jefferson's selections are beautifully recomposed in a dignifi ed yet pleasing style for a gem of compactness and clarity.
From his personal motto—“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”—to his resounding discourse on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson defined the essential truth of the American spirit. In the essays that Petersen has crafted from letters, speeches, and public documents, Jefferson’s unique moral philosophy and vision shine through. Among the hundreds of magnificent sentences gathered in this volume, here are Jefferson’s pronouncements on
Gratitude: “I have but one system of ethics for men and for nations—
to be grateful, to be faithful to all engagements and under all circumstances, to be open and generous.”
Religion: “A concern purely between our God and our consciences.”
America’s national character: “It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate; to surmount every difficulty with resolution and contrivance.”
Public debt: “We shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves.”
War: “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.”
In stately measured cadences, these thirty-four essays provide timeless guidance on leading a spiritually fulfilling life. Light and Liberty is a triumphant work of supreme eloquence, as uplifting today as when Jefferson first set these immortal sentences on paper.
From the Hardcover edition.