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The Political Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello Monograph Series) [Paperback]

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Item Number 295558  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   213
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 7.25" Height: 10"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 25, 2002
Publisher   The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN  1882886011  
EAN  9781882886012  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 04:43.
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Item Description...
Merrill D. Peterson has gleaned Jefferson's basic ideas on politics and produced a book containing the core of the third president's political thought. From Jefferson's public papers as well as his private letters, Peterson brings together fundamental views that reveal the legacy of Jefferson's republicanism.

Buy The Political Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello Monograph Series) by Thomas Jefferson & Merrill D. Peterson from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781882886012 & 1882886011

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More About Thomas Jefferson & Merrill D. Peterson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Merrill D. Peterson is Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia. A winner of the Bancroft Prize and a former Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of numerous books, including The Jefferson Image in the American Mind and Thomas Jefferson and the New
Nation: A Biography.

Merrill D. Peterson has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Virginia (Emeritus) University of Virginia University of.

Merrill D. Peterson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of America

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
ATTN: All Political Candidates -- Please Read This Book  Oct 1, 2005
The Political Writings of Thomas Jefferson is a breviary of inspirational reading for people who seek wisdom in public affairs. The 98 Jeffersonian selections included in this volume by Editor Peterson offer a deeper understanding of how America's third President and one of its greatest founding thinkers envisioned the country where all men are created equal with inherent and inalienable rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.

It was not only the Declaration of Independence to which Jefferson put his pen. The book offers digestible servings of Jefferson's thoughts on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and much of his work on the Virginia state constitution. It reveals Jeffersonian values on citizenship, religious freedom and education. It enriches readers with scores of excerpts from Jeffersonian correspondence with contemporaries like James Madison, John Adams, James Monroe and the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. Important history, the book is pleasant because Jefferson was such a good writer and Peterson is a helpful editor.

The selections are valuable because they explain what Jefferson thought, and why. When he wrote a bill in 1777 for the Virginia Assembly establishing religious freedom, we see his commitment to the separation of church and state. "The imperious presumption of legislators and rulers, civic as well as ecclesiastical who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinion and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time.

"Almighty God has created the mind free ... and all attempts to influence it ... tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness..." Jefferson drew inspiration from history as well as from his Puritan neighbors to the north.

"Spin" and political disinformation bedeviled Jefferson's world just like they do ours. In a letter dated November 13, 1787 to William S. Smith, Jefferson wrote, "The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them and & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves." Jefferson was saddled with his British gazetteers and we struggle with press secretaries, unidentified administration sources and news bunnies. Skepticism was and continues to be in order.

That same day, Jefferson wrote to John Adams, predicting the Constitution needed the 22nd amendment limiting service as President by a single person to two terms that wasn't ratified until 1951. Only Jefferson felt the incumbent should serve only one term. "Once in office, and possessing the military force of the union, without either the aid or check of a council, he would not be easily dethroned, even if the people could be induced to withdraw their votes from him. I wish that at the end of the four years they had made him for ever ineligible a second time."

Peterson says Jefferson was less a philosopher and more a statesman as "a servant and a spokesman of American freedom, democracy, enlightenment and nationhood." His was a life of active learning sparked by native intelligence, omnivorous curiosity and relentless industry. Climbing a lifelong mountain of personal reinvention, Jefferson was a student, a lawyer, a legislator, a governor, an ambassador, a secretary of state, a vice president, a president, a farmer, and through all, an eloquent educator.

Jefferson wrote a report in 1818 on behalf of the commissioners of the University of Virginia on "Education and Progress." His optimism is contagious. "We should be far, too, from the discouraging persuasion that man is fixed, by the law of his nature, at a given point; that his improvement is a chimera and the hope delusive of rendering ourselves wiser, happier or better than our forefathers were.

"Education ... engrafts a new man on the native stock and improves what in his nature was vicious and perverse into qualities of virtue and social worth..."

In the same essay, Jefferson encourages educators and the wealthy elite - he held distinguished status in both groups - to avoid complacency. Beware, he warns, of those who find "...themselves but too well in their present condition, oppose all advances which might unmask their usurpations and monopolies of honors, wealth and power and fear every change as endangering the comforts they now hold."

Jefferson's political approach is timelessly attractive. Peterson says his "intellectual bent was activist, pragmatic and utilitarian," ever willing to revise his work to meet the challenge of changing historical forces and events. He moved from history to theory, from law to nature, from the particularism of the English tradition to the rationalism and universalism of the Enlightenment. In the truest sense of two words, Jefferson lived with an open mind. His enthusiasm let him believe reason and inquiry can lead men away from whatever is false, twisted or capricious in human affairs toward truths in the nature of things. With an eagle's eye for detail, he knew big ideas often start small. Looking back in his 1821 autobiography, he wrote, "So inscrutable is the arrangement of causes and consequences in this world that a two-penny duty on tea, unjustly imposed in a sequestered part of it, changes the condition of all its inhabitants."

Jefferson was proud of his contribution to the birth of America. Ten days before his death at Monticello on July 4th, 1826, he wrote Roger Weightman of his "delight" that his fellow citizens, "after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made (between submission and the sword).

"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves and to assume the blessing and security of self-government.

"That form which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion...

"For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them..."

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