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Thomas Jefferson

Reputation and Legacy

Francis D. Cogliano

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£32.00
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This first major study of Thomas Jefferson's reputation in nearly fifty years is concerned with Jefferson and history-both as something Jefferson made and something that he sought to shape.

Jefferson was acutely aware that he would be judged by posterity and he deliberately sought to influence history's judgment of him. He did so, it argues, in order to promote his vision of a global republican future. It begins by situating Jefferson's ideas about history within the context of eighteenth-century historical thought, and then considers the efforts Jefferson made to shape the way the history of his life and times would be written: through the careful preservation of his personal and public papers and his home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia.

The second half of the book considers the results of Jefferson's efforts to shape historical writing by examining the evolution of his reputation since the Second World War. Recent scholarship has examined Jefferson's attitudes and actions with regard to Native Americans, African slaves, women and civil liberties and found him wanting.

Jefferson has continued to be a controversial figure; DNA testing proving that he fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings being the most recent example, perhaps encapsulating this best of all. This is the first major study to examine the impact of the Hemings controversy on Jefferson's reputation.

Key Features:

  • The first study of Jefferson's reputation to be published since 1960
  • Considers the impact of slavery on Jefferson's reputation and Jefferson's relationship with slavery
  • Explores the history of the Sally Hemings controversy.

Contents

Introduction: The Estimation of the World
1. History
2. The Revolution
3. Jefferson's Papers
4. Monticello
5. Jefferson's Epitaph
6. Sally Hemings
7. Slavery
8. America and the World
Conclusion: 'Jefferson Survives'.

About the Author

Francis D. Cogliano is Reader in American History at the University of Edinburgh. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he has held research fellowships at the Virginia Historical Society and the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. He is the author of Revolutionary America, 1763-1815: A Political History (Routledge, 2000).

Reviews

A great success. Students of Jefferson and his era will obviously gain most from this important study, but it should be emphasized that Cogliano’s sophisticated interrogation of history and historical consciousness in Jefferson’s day and our own has broader and deeper implications for a much wider readership.
- Professor Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia