Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon MeachamIn this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.
The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity—and the genius of the new nation—lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President’s House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion.
The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.
The Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson
An early advocate of total separation of church and state , he also was the founder and architect of the University of Virginia and the most eloquent American proponent of individual freedom as the core meaning of the American Revolution. For a discussion of the history and nature of the presidency, see presidency of the United States of America. As a teenager, Thomas Jefferson boarded with the local schoolmaster to learn Latin and Greek. Thomas Jefferson was known for his shyness apart from his two inaugural addresses as president , there is no record of Jefferson delivering any public speeches whatsoever and for his zealous certainty about the American cause. He was full of contradictions, arguing for human freedom and equality while owning hundreds of enslaved people. Thomas Jefferson is remembered for being the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson was the primary draftsman of the U. As the third president of the United States, Jefferson stabilized the U. He was responsible for doubling the size of the United States by successfully brokering the Louisiana Purchase. He also founded the University of Virginia. Jefferson was born on April 13, , at the Shadwell plantation located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson was born into one of the most prominent families of Virginia's planter elite.
Thomas Jefferson , author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U. During the American Revolutionary War , Jefferson served in the Virginia legislature and the Continental Congress and was governor of Virginia. He later served as U. During his two terms in office , the U. Although Jefferson promoted individual liberty, he was also a slaveowner.