In this comprehensive account of Thomas Jefferson's constitutional thought, David N. Mayer offers a fresh perspective on Jefferson's philosophy of government. Eschewing the "liberalism versus civic republicanism" debate that has so dominated early American scholarship in recent years, Mayer examines Jefferson's thought in Jefferson's own terms- as "whig," "federal," and "republican." In the interrelationships and tensions among these three essential aspects of Jefferson's theory, Mayer explaines Jefferson's response to the particular constitutional issues and problems of his time. In contrast to other studies that view Jefferson as a champion of democracy, Mayer's book emphasizes Jefferson's commitment to liberty and his distrust of government.