A Companion to Thomas Jefferson

Wiley Blackwell Companions to American History

Book 82
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A Companion to Thomas Jefferson presents a state-of-the-art assessment and overview of the life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson through a collection of essays grounded in the latest scholarship.

  • Features essays by the leading scholars in the field, including Pulitzer Prize winners Annette Gordon-Reed and Jack Rakove
  • Includes a section that considers Jefferson’s legacy
  • Explores Jefferson’s wide range of interests and expertise, and covers his public career, private life, his views on democracy, and his writings
  • Written to be accessible for the non-specialist as well as Jefferson scholars
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About the author

Francis D. Cogliano is Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh. A specialist in the history of revolutionary and early national America, Cogliano is the author or editor of several books on American history, including Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy (2006) and Revolutionary America: A Political History (2000, 2009).
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Additional Information

John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Sep 15, 2011
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History / General
History / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.

More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans.

The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet.

Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.

As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars.

In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.

From the Hardcover edition.
This first major study of Thomas Jefferson's reputation in nearly fifty years is concerned with Jefferson and history-both as something Jefferson made and something that he sought to shape.Jefferson was acutely aware that he would be judged by posterity and he deliberately sought to influence history's judgment of him. He did so, it argues, in order to promote his vision of a global republican future. It begins by situating Jefferson's ideas about history within the context of eighteenth-century historical thought, and then considers the efforts Jefferson made to shape the way the history of his life and times would be written: through the careful preservation of his personal and public papers and his home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia.The second half of the book considers the results of Jefferson's efforts to shape historical writing by examining the evolution of his reputation since the Second World War. Recent scholarship has examined Jefferson's attitudes and actions with regard to Native Americans, African slaves, women and civil liberties and found him wanting.Jefferson has continued to be a controversial figure; DNA testing proving that he fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings being the most recent example, perhaps encapsulating this best of all. This is the first major study to examine the impact of the Hemings controversy on Jefferson's reputation.Key Features*The first study of Jefferson's reputation to be published since 1960*Considers the impact of slavery on Jefferson's reputation and Jefferson's relationship with slavery*Explores the history of the Sally Hemings controversy
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