Tag Archives: 1743-1826

Thomas Jefferson and Executive Power

This book examines Thomas Jefferson's attempt to combine respect for a fundamental constitution with the fact that no set of laws can foresee every event. His solution to this problem offers a democratic, yet strong, alternative to the more common, Hamiltonian solution. Jefferson scholars have long written of 'two Jeffersons,' one before he became president and one after he became president. The first was opposed to a strong executive, while the second embraced one out of necessity. This book challenges this account. It presents Jefferson's understanding of executive power, which, though it developed over time, pointed to an executive that was both democratic and powerful.

Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance (Distributed for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation)

Among Thomas Jefferson's flaws, according to Patrick Henry, was the manner in which "he has abjured his native victuals in favor of French cuisine." While Jefferson's years in Paris enhanced his fondness for French food, the offerings at Monticello incorporated Continental cuisine with more common Virginian fare, yielding a celebrated blend of cultures and traditions.
Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance combines recipes, background essays, and lush illustrations to provide an inviting view of the renowned hospitality offered at Thomas Jefferson's table. Ten introductory essays by Monticello scholars and by outside experts illuminate all areas of food and drink at Jefferson's home, ranging from the groceries and wine imported from Europe, to the recently revealed kitchen restoration, to the African Americans who participated in this rich food culture at every stage. Following these essays are seventy-five recipes found in the family manuscripts, some written in Jefferson's own hand. Updated by Damon Lee Fowler, author of Classical Southern Cooking, the recipes are authentic to the period yet accessible to the home cook. Filled with anecdotes, recipes, solid information, and beautiful color photography, this book satisfies both hunger and curiosity.

Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and Manifest Destiny (Native America: Yesterday and Today)

Manifest Destiny, as a term for westward expansion, was not used until the 1840s. Its predecessor was the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal tradition by which Europeans and Americans laid legal claim to the land of the indigenous people that they discovered. In the United States, the British colonists who had recently become Americans were competing with the English, French, and Spanish for control of lands west of the Mississippi. Who would be the discoverers of the Indians and their lands, the United States or the European countries? We know the answer, of course, but in this book, Miller explains for the first time exactly how the United States achieved victory, not only on the ground, but also in the developing legal thought of the day.

The American effort began with Thomas Jefferson's authorization of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which set out in 1803 to lay claim to the West. Lewis and Clark had several charges, among them the discovery of a Northwest Passage—a land route across the continent—in order to establish an American fur trade with China. In addition, the Corps of Northwestern Discovery, as the expedition was called, cataloged new plant and animal life, and performed detailed ethnographic research on the Indians they encountered. This fascinating book lays out how that ethnographic research became the legal basis for Indian removal practices implemented decades later, explaining how the Doctrine of Discovery became part of American law, as it still is today.

The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Jefferson (Cambridge Companions to American Studies)

This Companion forms an accessible introduction to the life and work of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. Essays explore Jefferson's political thought, his policies towards Native Americans, his attitude to race and slavery, as well as his interests in science, architecture, religion and education. Contributors include leading literary scholars and historians; the essays offer up to date overviews of his many interests, his friendships and his legacy. Together, they reveal his importance in the cultural and political life of early America. At the same time these original essays speak to abiding modern concerns about American culture and Jefferson's place in it. This Companion will be essential reading for students and scholars of Jefferson, and is designed for use by students of American literature and American history.

Jefferson’s Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello

When Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, he left behind a series of mysteries that have captured the imaginations of historical investigators for generations. In Jefferson's Secrets, Andrew Burstein draws on sources previous biographers have glossed over or missed entirely. Beginning with Jefferson's last days, Burstein shows how Jefferson confronted his own mortality. Burstein also tackles the crucial questions history has yet to answer: Did Jefferson love Sally Hemings? What were his attitudes towards women? Did he believe in God? How did he wish to be remembered? The result is a profound and nuanced portrait of the most complex of the Founding Fathers.

Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times

As the oldest and favorite daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772-1836) was extremely well educated, traveled in the circles of presidents and aristocrats, and was known on two continents for her particular grace and sincerity. Yet, as mistress of a large household, she was not spared the tedium, frustration, and great sorrow that most women of her time faced. Though Patsy's name is familiar because of her famous father, Kierner is the first historian to place Patsy at the center of her own story, taking readers into the largely ignored private spaces of the founding era. Randolph's life story reveals the privileges and limits of celebrity and shows that women were able to venture beyond their domestic roles in surprising ways.
Following her mother's death, Patsy lived in Paris with her father and later served as hostess at the President's House and at Monticello. Her marriage to Thomas Mann Randolph, a member of Congress and governor of Virginia, was often troubled. She and her eleven children lived mostly at Monticello, greeting famous guests and debating issues ranging from a woman's place to slavery, religion, and democracy. And later, after her family's financial ruin, Patsy became a fixture in Washington society during Andrew Jackson's presidency. In this extraordinary biography, Kierner offers a unique look at American history from the perspective of this intelligent, tactfully assertive woman.

Jefferson’s Great Gamble: The Remarkable Story of Jefferson, Napoleon and the Men behind the Louisiana Purchase

Jefferson's Great Gamble tells the incredible story of how four leaders of an upstart nation–Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Livingston–risked the future of their country and their own careers; outwitted Napoleon Bonaparte, the world's most powerful ruler; and secured a new future for the United States of America.

For two years before the Louisiana Purchase, the nine principal players in the deal watched France and the United States approach the brink of war over the most coveted spot on the planet: a bustling port known as New Orleans. And until the breakthrough moment when a deal was secured, the men who steered their countries through the tense and often beguiling negotiations knew only that the futures of both nations were being questioned, and that the answer was uncertain.
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Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side

In the most controversial analysis ever written of the apostle of American liberty, the distinguished constitutional historian Leonard W. Levy examines Jefferson’s record on civil liberties and finds it strikingly wanting. Clearing away the saintliness that surrounds the hero, Mr. Levy tries to understand why the “unfamiliar” Jefferson supported loyalty oaths; countenanced internment camps for political suspects; drafted a bill of attainder; urged prosecutions for seditious libel; condoned military despotism; used the Army to enforce laws in time of peace; censored reading; chose professors for their political opinions; and endorsed the doctrine that means, however odious, are justified by ends. "Implicitly," Mr. Levy writes, "this book is a study of libertarian leadership in time of power and time of danger…Jefferson should be seen [by his biographers] as a whole man in the perspective of his times, but my task is to determine the validity of his historical reputation as the apostle of liberty." "Blunt words and blunt facts…an indispensable book."—Commentary.

In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings—and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland Jr. demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling and revelatory argument, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but that in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

Historians have the wrong Jefferson. Hyland, an experienced trial lawyer, presents the most reliable historical evidence while dissecting the unreliable, and in doing so he cuts through centuries of unsubstantiated charges. The author reminds us that the DNA tests identified Eston Hemings, Sally’s youngest child, as being merely the descendant of a “Jefferson male.” Randolph Jefferson, the president’s wayward, younger brother with a reputation for socializing among the Monticello slaves, emerges as the most likely of several possible candidates. Meanwhile, the author traces the evolution of this rumor about Thomas Jefferson back to the allegation made by one James Callendar, a “drunken ruffian” who carried a grudge after unsuccessfully lobbying the president for a postmaster appointment—and who then openly bragged of ruining Jefferson’s reputation. Hyland also delves into Hemings family oral histories that go against the popular rumor, as well as the ways in which the Jefferson rumors were advanced by less-than-historical dramas and by flawed scholarly research often shaped by political agendas.
Reflecting both a layperson’s curiosity and a lawyer’s precision, Hyland definitively puts to rest the allegation of the thirty-eight-year liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. In doing so, he reclaims the nation’s third president from the arena of Hollywood-style myth and melodrama and gives his readers a unique opportunity to serve as jurors on this enduringly fascinating episode in American history.

Thomas Jefferson: America’s Paradoxical Patriot

This groundbreaking biography has been universally acclaimed as a landmark work on Thomas Jefferson's early and mature years. Mapp follows Jefferson from his birth in 1743 through the American Revolution and up until his inauguration as President of the United States in 1801. Along the way we rediscover Jefferson the student at William and Mary, the Virginia politician, and the foreign diplomat. In these pages, Mapp sheds new light on Jefferson's career and private life. The portrait is rich and full of a living complexity that defies the simple sketches often offered by those who would either canonize or demonize this reluctant founding father.