by  Merrill D. Peterson


(Volume One of Two)

ISBN 978-0-945707-30-1     $37.50

543 pages plus illustrations

       "Peterson's work... has its very considerable virtues.  It covers Jefferson's entire life with remarkable thoroughness.  I think, though, that its particular merit lies in the way the author manages to synthesize and render with clarity a number of very complicated episodes in Jefferson's public career.  Among these, for example, is the tangled aggregate of intellectual issues and tactical imperatives that were involved in composing the Declaration of Independence.  Another is the commercial policy upon which Jefferson operated during his mission to France in the 1780s, together with the strain of Anglophobia that underlay it and governed virtually every thought Jefferson had, or would have, on the subjects of trade, banking, and debt.
   Among the founders of the American nation - - the first of the modern world to combine a colonial revolt with a democratic revolutionary ideology - - the figure of Thomas Jefferson looms largest.  He had the longest and most profound influence upon the process through which Americans came to national consciousness, made good their independence in the stormy Atlantic world, and gave form to their democratic ideals.  Professor Peterson's work, while more than a biography, will take its place as the authoritative life of Jefferson.  It shows the growth of his mind in all its complex multiplicity, relating his private life and thought to his public role, encompassing a crowded national scene, yet always keeping the man himself in the foreground.

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