Thomas Jefferson (The American President Series)
Author: Joyce Appleby
An illuminating analysis of the man whose name is synonymous with American democracyFew presidents have embodied the American spirit as fully as Thomas Jefferson. He was the originator of so many of the founding principles of American democracy. Politically, he shuffled off the centralized authority of the Federalists, working toward a more diffuse and minimalist leadership. He introduced the bills separating church and state and mandating free public education. He departed from the strict etiquette of his European counterparts, appearing at state dinners in casual attire and dispensing with hierarchical seating arrangements. Jefferson initiated the Lewis and Clark expedition and seized on the the crucial moment when Napoleon decided to sell the Louisiana Territory, thus extending the national development. In this compelling examination, distinguished historian Joyce Appleby captures all of the richness of Jefferson's character and accomplishments.
Thomas Jefferson, so multifaceted and long-lived, tries the skills of most who venture to write his biography, especially a short one like this. But UCLA historian Appleby (Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans) has succeeded in writing as good a brief study of this complex man as is imaginable. Another in a series on the American chief executives edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., her elegant book is a liberal's take on the complex, sphinxlike founder of American liberalism. Appleby convincingly argues that the third president's greatest legacies were limited government (breached, however, by the opportunism that characterized his own presidency) and the great expansion of democracy. If some of her criticisms of Jefferson seem more perfunctory than heartfelt, she fully explains the man's sorry record and tortured views on slavery and race. Providing along the way a short, up-to-date history of the early 19th-century nation, she also concisely surveys the day's great issues-voting, democracy, political parties, commerce, westering and religion. Yet such a balanced picture of Jefferson remains somehow unsatisfactory, no doubt because a man of so many contradictions slips away from every biographer, the tensions in the man mirroring those of his times. Appleby tries to toss a bouquet to the man who vanquished the Federalist Party and purchased the Louisiana Territory. She wants to convince us that Jefferson was "one of history's most intuitive politicians," but even in Appleby's capable hands, Jefferson remains the most unfathomable political figure in our history. (Feb. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
On the heels of recent publications like Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers and James Srodes's Franklin comes Appleby's Thomas Jefferson, part of the "American Presidents" series edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Though touted as a biography, the work is more a study of Jefferson's years as chief executive, with lengthy discussions of his political philosophy and only intermittent information on his years outside the White House. Appleby (history, UCLA; Inheriting the Revolution) provides an excellent and concise study of our third president's time in office, rich with detail and sharp insights. Her summary and evaluation of the current research on Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemmings is clear and fair. Most important, her portrait of President Jefferson presents the man in all his complexity: as democrat, people's champion, intellectual, social engineer, and racist. Clearly sympathetic to her subject, Appleby judiciously and objectively balances her work so that readers may draw their own conclusions about this multifaceted and brilliant individual. Recommended for all public libraries.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
A portrait of our most controversial Founding Father as a genuine radical possessed of dangerous, frightening ideas about human nature and government. Thomas Jefferson was alone among his revolutionary peers in anticipating the advent of American democracy and striving to assure its peaceful birth, the author writes: "He resisted the notion that political equality was a chimera and strove to root out the last monarchical remnants from American culture," a project that set him in constant opposition to his privileged peers and particularly in opposition to the Federalist Party, the political organ of their class. Appleby (History/UCLA; Inheriting the Revolution, 2000, etc.) takes quite seriously Jefferson's boast that his election represented "as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form"; furthermore, she reckons with some amazement that no American with such a radical bent has met with quite the same level of electoral approval as did Jefferson, though it could be argued that we have never achieved his vision of a liberal, democratic America in which the governors and governed alike possessed "rationality, the drive for self-improvement, the capacity to work independently and to cooperate without coercion." Jefferson was a dreamer, impractical and torn by contradictions, Appleby allows; what is remarkable is that a man of such resolute devotion to liberty could have emerged from his class and position, even if his notion of liberty kept it the province of white men. For all that, Appleby insists again and again, Jefferson was a true radical whose polished words were not mere rhetorical exercises. When he said, "I like a little rebellion fromtime to time. It clears the atmosphere," he meant it. A useful slap against the reactionaries who today claim descent from Jeffersonian ideals.
Table of Contents:
|1.||A Pivotal Election||7|
|2.||Defining His Presidency||31|
|3.||Interpreting the Constitution in a Republican Fashion||53|
|4.||A Painful Reelection||72|
|5.||Contest for the West||92|
|6.||Foreign Policy Proves a Quagmire||111|
|7.||Coming to Terms with Thomas Jefferson||132|
|Note on Sources||169|
Look this: Change One or The Relaxation Response
Operation Valkyrie: The German General's Plot Against Hitler
Author: Pierre Galant
Operation Valkyrie was the code name given to the plot to assassinate Hitler and to enact a far-reaching military coup d'etat, from Paris to Berlin, against the Nazis.