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A Companion to Thomas Jefferson

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3015-1
646 pages
October 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Thomas Jefferson (1444330152) cover image


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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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables x

Notes on Contributors xi

Abbreviations xvii

Introduction xix
Francis D. Cogliano


1 Jefferson and Biography 3
Annette Gordon-Reed

2 Jefferson’s Virginia 16
Michael A. McDonnell

3 Thomas Jefferson and A Summary View of the Rights of British North America 32
Kristofer Ray

4 The Declaration of Independence 44
Robert G. Parkinson

5 “I have known”: Thomas Jefferson, Experience, and Notes on the State of Virginia 60
Peter Thompson

6 The Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom 75
John A. Ragosta

7 A Republican Reformation: Thomas Jefferson’s Civil Religion and the Separation of Church from State 91
Johann N.Neem

8 The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson 110
Iain McLean

9 Jefferson as Party Leader 128
Todd Estes

10 A Qualified Revolution: The Presidential Election of 1800 145
Joanne B. Freeman

11 The (Federalist?) Presidency of Thomas Jefferson 164
Robert M.S. McDonald

12 From “Floating Ardor” to the “Union of Sentiment”: Jefferson on the Relationship between Public Opinion and the Executive 184
Jeremy D. Bailey

13 Jefferson and International Relations 199
Leonard J. Sadosky

14 Jefferson in Retirement 218
Andrew Burstein


15 Thomas Jefferson and Native Americans 237
Andrew Cayton

16 Thomas Jefferson: Planter and Farmer 253
Lucia Stanton

17 Thomas Jefferson and Slavery 271
Cassandra Pybus

18 Sally Hemings 284
Catherine Kerrison

19 Thomas Jefferson and Affairs of the Heart 301
Billy L. Wayson

20 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams 318
Richard Samuelson

21 The Libraries of Thomas Jefferson 333
Kevin J. Hayes

22 Jefferson and the Law 349
David Thomas Konig

23 Thomas Jefferson, Cosmopolitanism, and the Enlightenment 364
Hannah Spahn

24 Thomas Jefferson and the Ancient World 380
Caroline Winterer

25 Jefferson and American Democracy 397
Peter S. Onuf

26 Thomas Jefferson and Constitutionalism 419
R.B. Bernstein

27 Political Economy 439
Max M. Edling

28 Jefferson and Education 457
Cameron Addis


29 History, Politics, and the Self: Jefferson’s “Anas” and Autobiography 477
Matthew E. Crow

30 “For Generations to Come”: Creating the “Definitive” Jefferson Edition 491
Barbara B. Oberg and James P. McClure

31 Preservation and Education: Monticello and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation 510
Francis D. Cogliano

32 Jefferson’s Legacy: The Nation as Interpretative Community 526
Brian Steele

33 Thomas Jefferson in the Twenty-First Century 551
Jack N. Rakove

Bibliography 567

Index 595

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Author Information

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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“A marvelous collection of authoritative and well-written essays on nearly every aspect of Jefferson’s life and legacy. Compiling and editing the works of such a variety of scholars is no easy task, and Frank D. Cogliano deserves the highest praise.”  (Expofairs, 14 May 2013)

“A marvelous collection of authoritative and well-written essays on nearly every aspect of Jefferson’s life and legacy. Compiling and editing the works of such a variety of scholars is no easy task, and Frank D. Cogliano deserves the highest praise.” – Gordon S. Wood, Brown University 

“No American president cared more about posterity’s judgment than Thomas Jefferson. This kaleidoscopic collection, by an all-star cast of scholars, is the most comprehensive historical assessment of him ever undertaken.” - David Armitage, Harvard University, author of The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

"Deftly edited by Francis D. Cogliano, A Companion to Thomas Jefferson explores the greatest mystery in American history: Who was Thomas Jefferson?  Brilliant, elusive, and contradictory, Jefferson compels and confounds as a key to our national origins and to our enduring dilemmas in politics and race.  In this comprehensive collection of vivid essays, a stellar cast of leading scholars offers compelling new insights that enrich our understanding of the most mercurial of our founders." – Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis

“Frank Cogliano has brought together the leading specialists to create an invaluable and authoritative collection of essays for anyone interested in the most current scholarship on Thomas Jefferson.  It covers a wide array of different aspects of his life and legacy including coverage of his role as a plantation manager and slavery at Monticello.  It will help to navigate readers through the overwhelming secondary literature and to offer greater clarity about the man who many regard as the most elusive of the Founding Fathers.” – Dr. Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello

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