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Jeffersonian America

This series aims to illuminate the American republic’s formative decades by publishing the best new scholarship in the field. Younger and established scholars address the critical social, cultural, and political issues that faced the founding generations as they sought to establish a nation.

Series Editors: Peter S. Onuf, Andrew O’Shaughnessy 

Advisory Editors: Frank Cogliano, Annette Gordon-Reed, David Konig, James Oakes, Alan Taylor


Jeffersonians in Power

The Rhetoric of Opposition Meets the Realities of Governing


Edited by Joanne B. Freeman and Johann N. Neem

In the 1790s, the Jeffersonian Republicans were the party of "no." They opposed attempts to expand the government’s role in society, criticized the Washington administration’s national bank, railed against a standing army, and bemoaned the spirit of the Federalist regime, which, they claimed,... More


The Founding of Thomas Jefferson's University



Edited by John A. Ragosta, Peter S. Onuf, and Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy

Established in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia was known as "The University" throughout the South for most of the nineteenth century, and today it stands as one of the premier universities in the world. This volume provides an in-depth look at the founding of the University and... More


Thomas Jefferson's Lives

Biographers and the Battle for History


Edited by Robert M. S. McDonald

Who was the "real" Thomas Jefferson? If this question has an answer, it will probably not be revealed reading the many accounts of his life. For two centuries biographers have provided divergent perspectives on him as a man and conflicting appraisals of his accomplishments. Jefferson was... More


Patriotism and Piety

Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation


Jonathan J. Den Hartog

In Patriotism and Piety, Jonathan Den Hartog argues that the question of how religion would function in American society was decided in the decades after the Constitution and First Amendment established a legal framework. Den Hartog shows that among the wide array of politicians and public figures... More


The Queen of America

Mary Cutts's Life of Dolley Madison


Mary Cutts. Edited by Catherine Allgor. Foreword by Cokie Roberts

For biographers and fans of Dolley Payne Todd Madison, Mary Cutts's memoir of her famous aunt has been indispensable. Because Madison left behind no account of her life, the common assumption has been that Cutts’s account is the closest we have to Madison's autobiographical voice. With this new,... More


Becoming Men of Some Consequence

Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War


John A. Ruddiman

Young Continental soldiers carried a heavy burden in the American Revolution. Their experiences of coming of age during the upheavals of war provide a novel perspective on the Revolutionary era, eliciting questions of gender, family life, economic goals, and politics. "Going for a soldier" forced... More


Jefferson on Display

Attire, Etiquette, and the Art of Presentation


G. S. Wilson

When we think of Thomas Jefferson, a certain picture comes to mind for some of us, combining his physical appearance with our perception of his character. During Jefferson’s lifetime this image was already taking shape, helped along by his own assiduous cultivation. In Jefferson on Display, G. S.... More


Pulpit and Nation

Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America


Spencer W. McBride

In Pulpit and Nation, Spencer McBride highlights the importance of Protestant clergymen in early American political culture, elucidating the actual role of religion in the founding era. Beginning with colonial precedents for clerical involvement in politics and concluding with false rumors of... More


Thomas Jefferson's Military Academy

Founding West Point


Robert M. S. McDonald

Why did Thomas Jefferson, who claimed to abhor war and fear standing armies, in 1802 establish the United States Military Academy? For more than two centuries this question has received scant attention, despite the significant contributions of both Jefferson and West Point to American history.... More


Confounding Father

Thomas Jefferson's Image in His Own Time


Robert M. S. McDonald

Of all the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson stood out as the most controversial and confounding. Loved and hated, revered and reviled, during his lifetime he served as a lightning rod for dispute. Few major figures in American history provoked such a polarization of public opinion. One supporter... More


Jefferson's Body

A Corporeal Biography


Maurizio Valsania

What did Thomas Jefferson look like? How did he carry himself? Such questions, reasonable to ask as we look back on a person who lived in an era before photography, are the starting point for this boldly original new work. Maurizio Valsania considers all aspects of Jefferson’s complex conception of... More


Blood from the Sky

Miracles and Politics in the Early American Republic


Adam Jortner

In the decades following the Revolution, the supernatural exploded across the American landscape—fabulous reports of healings, exorcisms, magic, and angels crossed the nation. Under First Amendment protections, new sects based on such miracles proliferated. At the same time, Enlightenment... More


The Haitian Declaration of Independence

Creation, Context, and Legacy


Edited by Julia Gaffield

While the Age of Revolution has long been associated with the French and American Revolutions, increasing attention is being paid to the Haitian Revolution as the third great event in the making of the modern world. A product of the only successful slave revolution in history, Haiti’s Declaration... More


Citizens of a Common Intellectual Homeland

The Transatlantic Origins of American Democracy and Nationhood


Armin Mattes

Notions of democracy and nationhood constitute the pivotal legacy of the American Revolution, but to understand their development one must move beyond a purely American context. Citizens of a Common Intellectual Homeland explores the simultaneous emergence of modern concepts of democracy and the... More


Between Sovereignty and Anarchy

The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era


Edited by Patrick Griffin, Robert G. Ingram, Peter S. Onuf, and Brian Schoen

Between Sovereignty and Anarchy considers the conceptual and political problem of violence in the early modern Anglo-Atlantic, charting an innovative approach to the history of the American Revolution. Its editors and contributors contend that existing scholarship on the Revolution largely ignores... More


Sons of the Father

George Washington and His Protégés


Edited by Robert M. S. McDonald

Whether acting as a military officer or civilian officeholder, George Washington did not possess a reputation for glad handing, easy confidences, or even much warmth. His greatest attributes as a commander might well have been his firm command over his own emotions and the way in which he held... More


Religious Freedom

Jefferson’s Legacy, America's Creed


John Ragosta

For over one hundred years, Thomas Jefferson and his Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom have stood at the center of our understanding of religious liberty and the First Amendment. Jefferson’s expansive vision—including his insistence that political freedom and free thought would be at risk... More


Amelioration and Empire

Progress and Slavery in the Plantation Americas


Christa Dierksheide

Christa Dierksheide argues that "enlightened" slaveowners in the British Caribbean and the American South, neither backward reactionaries nor freedom-loving hypocrites, thought of themselves as modern, cosmopolitan men with a powerful alternative vision of progress in the Atlantic world. Instead of... More


Tom Paine's America

The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism in the Early Republic


Seth Cotlar

Tom Paine’s America explores the vibrant, transatlantic traffic in people, ideas, and texts that profoundly shaped American political debate in the 1790s. In 1789, when the Federal Constitution was ratified, "democracy" was a controversial term that very few Americans used to describe their new... More


Cosmopolitan Patriots

Americans in Paris in the Age of Revolution


Philipp Ziesche

This truly transnational history reveals the important role of Americans abroad in the Age of Revolution, as well as providing an early example of the limits of American influence on other nations. From the beginning of the French Revolution to its end at the hands of Napoleon, American... More


Collegiate Republic

Cultivating an Ideal Society in Early America


Margaret Sumner

Collegiate Republic offers a compellingly different view of the first generation of college communities founded after the American Revolution. Such histories have usually taken the form of the institutional tale, charting the growth of a single institution and the male minds within it. Focusing on... More


Era of Experimentation

American Political Practices in the Early Republic


Daniel Peart

In Era of Experimentation, Daniel Peart challenges the pervasive assumption that the present-day political system, organized around two competing parties, represents the logical fulfillment of participatory democracy. Recent accounts of "the rise of American democracy" between the Revolution and... More


The Citizenship Revolution

Politics and the Creation of the American Union, 1774-1804


Douglas Bradburn

Most Americans believe that the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 marked the settlement of post-Revolutionary disputes over the meanings of rights, democracy, and sovereignty in the new nation. In The Citizenship Revolution, Douglas Bradburn undercuts this view by showing that the Union, not... More


Paine and Jefferson in the Age of Revolutions



Edited by Simon P. Newman and Peter S. Onuf

The enormous popularity of his pamphlet Common Sense made Thomas Paine one of the best-known patriots during the early years of American independence. His subsequent service with the Continental Army, his publication of The American Crisis (1776–83), and his work with Pennsylvania’s revolutionary... More


The Limits of Optimism

Thomas Jefferson's Dualistic Enlightenment


Maurizio Valsania

The Limits of Optimism works to dispel persistent notions about Jefferson’s allegedly paradoxical and sphinx-like quality. Maurizio Valsania shows that Jefferson’s multifaceted character and personality are to a large extent the logical outcome of an anti-metaphysical, enlightened, and humility-... More


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