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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: Charlene M. Boyer Lewis, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf, Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy, Robert G. Parkinson
UVP Editor: Nadine Zimmerli


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


State and Citizen
British America and the Early United States Edited by Peter Thompson and Peter S. Onuf

Pointing the way to a new history of the transformation of British subjects into American citizens, State and Citizen challenges the presumption that the early American state was weak by exploring the changing legal and political meaning of citizenship. The volume’s distinguished contributors cast... More


Nature's Man
Thomas Jefferson's Philosophical Anthropology Maurizio Valsania

Although scholars have adequately covered Thomas Jefferson’s general ideas about human nature and race, this is the first book to examine what Maurizio Valsania terms Jefferson’s "philosophical anthropology"—philosophical in the sense that he concerned himself not with describing how humans are,... More


Culture and Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution
Michal Jan Rozbicki

In his new book, Michal Jan Rozbicki undertakes to bridge the gap between the political and the cultural histories of the American Revolution. Through a careful examination of liberty as both the ideological axis and the central metaphor of the age, he is able to offer a fresh model for... More


Thomas Jefferson, the Classical World, and Early America
Edited by Peter S. Onuf and Nicholas P. Cole

Thomas Jefferson read Latin and Greek authors throughout his life and wrote movingly about his love of the ancient texts, which he thought should be at the core of America's curriculum. Yet at the same time, Jefferson warned his countrymen not to look to the ancient world for modern lessons and... More


Unnatural Rebellion
Loyalists in New York City during the Revolution Ruma Chopra

Thousands of British American mainland colonists rejected the War for American Independence. Shunning rebel violence as unnecessary, unlawful, and unnatural, they emphasized the natural ties of blood, kinship, language, and religion that united the colonies to Britain. They hoped that British... More


Contesting Slavery
The Politics of Bondage and Freedom in the New American Nation Edited by John Craig Hammond and Matthew Mason

Recent scholarship on slavery and politics between 1776 and 1840 has wholly revised historians’ understanding of the problem of slavery in American politics. Contesting Slavery builds on the best of that literature to reexamine the politics of slavery in revolutionary America and the early republic... More


Light and Liberty
Thomas Jefferson and the Power of Knowledge edited by Robert M. S. McDonald

Although Thomas Jefferson’s status as a champion of education is widely known, the essays in Light and Liberty make clear that his efforts to enlighten fellow citizens reflected not only a love of learning but also a love of freedom. Using as a starting point Jefferson's conviction that knowledge... More


"Those Who Labor for My Happiness"
Slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Lucia Stanton

Our perception of life at Monticello has changed dramatically over the past quarter century. The image of an estate presided over by a benevolent Thomas Jefferson has given way to a more complex view of Monticello as a working plantation, the success of which was made possible by the work of slaves... More


Thomas Jefferson, Time, and History
Hannah Spahn

Beginning with the famous opening to the Declaration of Independence ("When in the course of human events..."), almost all of Thomas Jefferson’s writings include creative, stylistically and philosophically complex references to time and history. Although best known for his "forward-looking"... More


Unfinished Revolution
The Early American Republic in a British World Sam W. Haynes

After the War of 1812 the United States remained a cultural and economic satellite of the world’s most powerful empire. Though political independence had been won, John Bull intruded upon virtually every aspect of public life, from politics to economic development to literature to the performing... More


Remaking Custom
Law and Identity in the Early American Republic Ellen Holmes Pearson

History has largely forgotten the writings, both public and private, of early nineteenth-century America’s legal scholars. However, Ellen Holmes Pearson argues that the observers from this era had a unique perspective on the young nation and the directions in which its legal culture might go.... More


Old World, New World
America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson Edited by Leonard J. Sadosky, Peter Nicolaisen, Peter S. Onuf, and Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy

Old World, New World: America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson grew out of workshops in Salzburg and Charlottesville sponsored by Monticello’s International Center for Jefferson Studies, and revisits a question of long-standing interest to American historians: the nature of the relationship... More


Mongrel Nation
The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Clarence E. Walker

The debate over the affair between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings rarely rises above the question of "Did they or didn’t they?" But lost in the argument over the existence of such a relationship are equally urgent questions about a history that is more complex, both sexually and culturally,... More


Revolutionary Negotiations
Indians, Empires, and Diplomats in the Founding of America Leonard J. Sadosky

Revolutionary Negotiations examines early American diplomatic negotiations with both the European powers and the various American Indian nations from the 1740s through the 1820s. Sadosky interweaves previously distinct settings for American diplomacy—courts and council fires—into one singular,... More


Empires of the Imagination
Transatlantic Histories of the Louisiana Purchase Peter J. Kastor and Francois Weil, eds.

Empires of the Imagination takes the Louisiana Purchase as a point of departure for a compelling new discussion of the interaction between France and the United States. In addition to offering the first substantive synthesis of this transatlantic relationship, the essays collected here offer new... More


Rome Reborn on Western Shores
Historical Imagination and the Creation of the American Republic Eran Shalev

Rome Reborn on Western Shores examines the literature of the Revolutionary era to explore the ways in which American patriots employed the classics and to assess antiquity's importance to the early political culture of the United States. Where other writers have concentrated on political theory and... More


Distant Revolutions
1848 and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism Timothy Mason Roberts

Distant Revolutions: 1848 and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism is a study of American politics, culture, and foreign relations in the mid-nineteenth century, illuminated through the reactions of Americans to the European revolutions of 1848. Flush from the recent American military victory... More


Red Gentlemen and White Savages
Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the American Frontier David Andrew Nichols

Red Gentlemen and White Savages argues that after the devastation of the American Revolutionary War, the main concern of Federalist and Indian leaders was not the transfer of land, but the restoration of social order on the frontier. Nichols focuses on the "middle ground" of Indian treaty... More


Thomas Jefferson
Reputation and Legacy Francis D. Cogliano

In his probing new study, Francis Cogliano focuses on Thomas Jefferson’s relation to history, both as the context in which he lived, and as something he made considerable, and conscious, efforts to influence. He was acutely aware that he would be judged by posterity, and he believed that the fate... More


The Making and Unmaking of a Revolutionary Family
The Tuckers of Virginia, 1752–1830 Phillip Hamilton

In mid-April 1814, the Virginia congressman John Randolph of Roanoke had reason to brood over his family’s decline since the American Revolution. The once-sumptuous world of the Virginia gentry was vanishing, its kinship ties crumbling along with its mansions, crushed by democratic leveling at home... More


Slavery, Freedom, and Expansion in the Early American West
John Craig Hammond

Most treatments of slavery, politics, and expansion in the early American republic focus narrowly on congressional debates and the inaction of elite "founding fathers" such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. In Slavery, Freedom, and Expansion in the Early American West, John Craig Hammond looks... More


"Let a Common Interest Bind Us Together"
Associations, Partisanship, and Culture in Philadelphia, 1775–1840 Albrecht Koschnik

After examining American society in 1831-32, Alexis de Tocqueville concluded, "In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objects than in America." What he failed to note, however, was just how much experimentation... More


The Work of the Heart
Young Women and Emotion, 1780–1830 Martha Tomhave Blauvelt

How did young American women construct and express their emotions between 1780 and 1830? Before Oprah and therapy, how did they reconcile society’s demanding and often contradictory expectations? In The Work of the Heart: Young Women and Emotion, 1780-1830, Martha Tomhave Blauvelt looks to the... More


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