The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 21

Papers of Thomas Jefferson

Book 21
Princeton University Press
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The description for this book, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 21: Index, Vols. 1-20, will be forthcoming.
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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jun 5, 2018
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Pages
605
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ISBN
9780691185279
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The months covered by this volume illustrate the variety of topics characteristic of the Jefferson Papers. Subjects range from Jefferson's continued overseeing of the planning of the Federal District that became Washington, D.C., to his worries over his debts and his exchange of correspondence with the free black Benjamin Banneker. This period, an unusually significant time for Jefferson as Secretary of State, saw the opening of a new phase of diplomacy. When Jefferson returned to the capital after a stay at Monticello in the fall, the first British minister to the United States had arrived, and the new representative from France had been in the city since August.

During this time Jefferson began keeping private notes on important political conversations, notes that he later collected and bound. These notes were published after his death as Jefferson's Anas, a work never closely examined until now and often extended beyond Jefferson's evident intention. Ascertaining that Jefferson collected and intended only those documents from his tenure as Secretary of State to be used to challenge the Federalist interpretation of Washington's administration, the present editors publish the Anas notes not as compiled late in Jefferson's life or as amplified by others, but in chronological order, in the context in which they were written. Also discovered during the preparation of this volume was a new, later date or that portion of Jefferson's famous Espistolary Record written in his own hand.

This volume documents exhaustively for the first time Edmond Charles Genet's dramatic challenges to American neutrality and Jefferson's diplomatic and political responses. After welcoming Genet's arrival as the harbinger of closer relations between the American and French republics, Jefferson becomes increasingly distressed by the French minister's defiance of the Washington administration's ban on the outfitting of French privateers in American ports, the enlistment of American citizens in French service, and the exercise of admiralty jurisdiction by French consuls in American ports. Although the Supreme Court declines to advise the executive branch on neutrality questions that Jefferson prepares with the President and the Cabinet, he helps to formulate a set of neutrality rules to meet Genet's challenge.

Unable to convince the impetuous French envoy to adopt a more moderate course, Jefferson works in the Cabinet to bring about Genet's recall so as to preserve friendly relations with France and minimize political damage to the Republican party, in which he takes a more active role to prevent the Federalists from capitalizing on Genet's defiance of the President. Grappling with the threat of war with Spain, Jefferson involves himself equivocally in a diplomatically explosive plan by Genet to liberate Louisiana from Spanish rule. In this volume Jefferson also plays a decisive role in resolving a dispute over the design of the Capitol and plans agricultural improvements at Monticello in preparation for his retirement to private life.

The months covered by this volume illustrate the variety of topics characteristic of the Jefferson Papers. Subjects range from Jefferson's continued overseeing of the planning of the Federal District that became Washington, D.C., to his worries over his debts and his exchange of correspondence with the free black Benjamin Banneker. This period, an unusually significant time for Jefferson as Secretary of State, saw the opening of a new phase of diplomacy. When Jefferson returned to the capital after a stay at Monticello in the fall, the first British minister to the United States had arrived, and the new representative from France had been in the city since August.

During this time Jefferson began keeping private notes on important political conversations, notes that he later collected and bound. These notes were published after his death as Jefferson's Anas, a work never closely examined until now and often extended beyond Jefferson's evident intention. Ascertaining that Jefferson collected and intended only those documents from his tenure as Secretary of State to be used to challenge the Federalist interpretation of Washington's administration, the present editors publish the Anas notes not as compiled late in Jefferson's life or as amplified by others, but in chronological order, in the context in which they were written. Also discovered during the preparation of this volume was a new, later date or that portion of Jefferson's famous Espistolary Record written in his own hand.

Were Thomas Jefferson alive to read this book, he would recognize every sentence, every elegant turn of phrase, every lofty, beautifully expressed idea. Indeed, every word in the book is his. In an astonishing feat of editing, Eric S. Petersen has culled the entirety of Thomas Jefferson’s published works to fashion thirty-four original essays on themes ranging from patriotism and liberty to hope, humility, and gratitude. The result is a lucid, inspiring distillation of the wisdom of one of America’s greatest political thinkers.

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.
A gripping portrait of the first president of the United States from the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical.

Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

“Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography”—Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal

“Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.”—Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“A truly gripping biography of George Washington... I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels.”—Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.

Ron Chernow's latest biography, Grant, is now available in paperback. 
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