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.
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.