Books on Jefferson
Find below a list of the books on Jefferson that I've published. Autographed copies of some of the books are available. For an autographed book, tell me something about yourself on the contact page, and I'll select a suitable quote from Jefferson. To purchase any of the available books, click the PayPal link, top/left.
Framing a Legend: Exposing the Distorted History of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
Did Thomas Jefferson have a nearly 40-year affair with slave Sally Hemings? Did he father any or all of her six children? Most scholars think that he did. This book is a critical analysis of the pro-paternity literature.
This book is composed of two parts, each with three chapters. The first part, “Three Prominent Spins,” comprises a critical examination of the works of a prominent biographer, a professor of law, and a prominent historian: Fawn Brodie, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Andrew Burstein. The second part, “Unframing the Legend,” comprises chapters on the much-vitiated argument from character, the sloppy science and the revisionist tendency to treat history as a normative discipline, and the issue of Jefferson’s avowed racism.
"A superb work that demonstrates its argument beyond question and, along the way, should mortify defenders of the Jefferson-Hemings thesis for their slipshod and even dishonest work." ~Forrest McDonald, University of Alabama, Emeritus
Thomas Jefferson: Uncovering His Unique Philosophy and Vision
This book is an expiscation of Thomas Jefferson's singular philosophical vision.
It is divided into four parts: Jefferson’s naturalism, Jefferson’s political thought, Jefferson’s moral thought, and Jefferson’s educative thought. Part I, Jefferson’s Cosmos, examines Jefferson’s physicalism and naturalism in one chapter. Part II, Jefferson on Politics, comprises three chapters, which critically look at Jefferson’s republicanism, liberalism, and his political progressivism. Part III, Jefferson on Morality, comprises three chapters, which analyze Jefferson’s notion of the nature of man, his moral-sense theory, and his view of “natural aristoi.” Part IV, Jefferson on Education, comprises three chapters that critically spell out his thoughts on education.
Overall, I argue that Jefferson’s “great experiment”—his vision of a government, responsibly representative of its people and functioning for the sake of them—is interlarded and undergirded by his philosophical thoughts on humans and their place in the natural order of things that are remarkably consistent over time. Humans, given a general education, are fully capable of managing their own affairs and participating in local government.
Thomas Jefferson, Moralist
This book is the first comprehensive account of Jefferson’s ethical views through study of his accounts of the moral sense, morality in general, and human flourishing. Though Jefferson never makes the moral sense the topic of a formal, published treatise, his writings, especially his letters to friends and family members, allow for more than a general sketch of what the moral sense is and how it functions. In addition, they allow us to say much on his views of good living.
Chapter 1 explicates Jefferson’s view of the moral sense through his love letter to Maria Cosway. The second chapter aims to explain what the aesthetic sense is for Jefferson and how it interacts with the moral sense. Chapters 3 and 4 examine the role of ancient and modern ethical thinking on Jefferson’s views of morality and are more expository than critical. The fifth chapter is an elaboration of history and “useful” fiction in developing the moral sense. Chapter 6 argues that Jefferson’s political views, essentially progressive, are founded on his moral views, essentially progressive. Chapter 7 explains the relationship between religion and morality for Jefferson. The eighth chapter discusses the role of education in shaping a prosperous Jeffersonian republic. The final chapter argues that Jefferson, in spite of expressed discipleship of Epicurus, was by thought and temperament a living Stoic.
Jefferson's Political Philosophy and the Metaphysics of Utopia
This book critically examines Jefferson’s political philosophy and moral vision and how they relate to his view of the prospects for an empire for liberty and a global confederation of republican nations. Chapter 1 is an analysis of his notion of republicanism. The second chapter expatiates on his views on political progress as they are linked to moral and scientific progress. The third chapter is a synopsis of some of the utopian literature he read and assimilated into his political philosophy. Chapter 4 looks critically at Jefferson’s views on domestic and foreign policies. The fifth and sixth chapters expound on the possibility of the United States being a global and moral exemplar for other nations. To clear up some of the issues not sufficiently explained in book—the “dubious” means to which I referred earlier—I offer an epilogue.
Thomas Jefferson's Philosophy of Education
This book is an attempt to bring to light Jefferson's vision, essentially philosophical, of government of and by the people through his thoughts on systemic educative reforms for thriving republican government.
Part I, "The Laborers and the Learned,” is an analysis of elementary education, available to all citizens, and higher education, available to those more prominent in virtue and talent. Chapter 1 is a critical analysis of elementary education; chapter 2, higher education, comprising grammar-school education and university-level education. Part II, “Head and Heart,” is an investigation of education for the moral-sense faculty and for the rational faculty. Chapter 3 concerns moral education; chapter 4, education of the intellect, in the service of morality. Part III, “Lifelong Education,” is an examination of the usefulness of education and of education as lifelong learning. Chapter 5 is an analysis of Jefferson’s focus on a useful American education; chapter 6, education in the service of lifelong needs. In all, I argue that Jefferson’s systemic, economical approach to education bespeaks a systemic, economical approach to living, with strong affinities to Stoicism.
The Elusive Thomas Jefferson: Essays on the Man behind the Myths
Thomas Jefferson, perhaps more than any other American figure, has been enshrouded in myths. He is lionized as a benefactor, moralist, and citizen of the world. He is debased as a racist, hedonist, and hypocrite. Scholars are polarized, and cannot seem to find any middle ground. Some have settled for the unseemly position that Jefferson the man is unknowable.
This book--a collection of 11 heretofore unpublished essay by scholars of various disciplines--is an attempt to disclose the man behind the myths. Subjects include Jefferson and morality, Jefferson's Whig History, Jefferson and liberty, Jefferson's theism, Jefferson and education, Jefferson on guns, Jefferson and architecture, and Jefferson's legacy.
Dutiful Correspondent: Philosophical Essays on Thomas Jefferson
This book has seven parts and 12 chapters. The first part, “Jefferson the Man” comprises “Jefferson as ‘Philologist’.” Part II, “Jefferson’s Political Philosophy,” has “The ‘Great Experiment’” and “Liberal Eudaimonism.” Part III concerns Jefferson’s debt to ancient philosophical thought and includes “Jefferson’s Epicureanism” and “Jefferson and Jesus.” The fourth part, “Jefferson on Philosophy and Science,” is composed of “Philosophical Vignettes” and “Jefferson as Scientist.” Part V is titled “Jefferson and Ethics” and contains “Reason and the Moral Sense” and “Jefferson on War and Peace.” The sixth part, “Jefferson and Race” has a chapter on Jefferson’s views of both African Americans and American Indians—chapters 10 and 11. The final part, “Jefferson and the Good Life,” comprises the chapter titled “Education as Lifelong Learning.”
Dutiful Correspondent is not meant to be an exhaustive philosophical excursion into Jefferson’s mind, but rather a preliminary excursion. It aims to fill the void in philosophical scholarship by examining Jefferson’s philosophical thinking almost exclusively through his writings. In doing so, I hope to create, so to speak, a network for future philosophical exchanges on these issues.
Thomas Jefferson & Philosophy
This book is a collection of nine new essays on philosophical elements in Jefferson’s writings. To date, no such collection exists. It is my hope that the collection will lead to further philosophical analysis of Jefferson’s thinking—especially by philosophers, who tend to appreciate Jefferson only as the author of the “Declaration of Independence”—and greater appreciation for the man who gave up to statesmanship a large number of the prime of his years out of a moral sense of duty to others. In that regard, Jefferson was always first a philosopher.