Jefferson Against Conformity, 1945-1960

By |2020-08-10T16:02:14-05:00August 7th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Politics, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson, many scholars have thought, represented the ideal of human individualism and personality, a renaissance man who struggled mightily against mediocrity. In the spirit of Jefferson, an individual can reach his own unique potential by properly pursuing a liberal education. Though perhaps odd to our ears in 2020, the time period dealt with [...]

Harry S. Truman and the Legacy of Thomas Jefferson

By |2020-08-03T15:33:10-05:00August 5th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Declaration of Independence, Foreign Affairs, History, Politics, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Harry S. Truman explicitly tried to tie Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence to the events and crusades of his own day. He saw the Declaration of Independence as an international document, belonging to all peoples yearning for freedom. When the first copy of the first volume of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, [...]

Just How Catholic Is the Declaration of Independence?

By |2020-07-31T22:24:04-05:00August 1st, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christianity, Declaration of Independence, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

An oft-reprinted editorial, “Did Bellarmine Whisper to Thomas Jefferson?,” suggests that the American statesman might have been influenced by Robert Bellarmine. While recent scholarship has confirmed that Jefferson came to Bellarmine through the works of the radical Protestant intermediary, Algernon Sydney, is the Declaration of Independence really influenced by Catholic teaching? In the wake [...]

“Mount Rushmore”

By |2020-07-06T18:42:25-05:00July 6th, 2020|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, American Republic, Audio/Video, George Washington, History, Music, Thomas Jefferson|

Drawing from American musical sources and texts, Michael Dougherty's composition for chorus and orchestra echoes the resonance and dissonance of Mount Rushmore as a complex icon of American history. Like Mount Rushmore, the libretto is carved out of the words of each President. Mount Rushmore (2010) for chorus and orchestra is inspired by the monumental [...]

Thomas Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence: The Power of a Free People

By |2020-08-01T14:41:09-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Featured, Political Science Reviewer, Thomas Jefferson|

One of America’s most cherished symbols, of course, is the American Declaration of Independence, and its Promethean author, Thomas Jefferson—a document and a man whom subsequent generations have blurred together in a myth of no mean proportion. It is the immediate task of this essay to unravel that myth so we will know what [...]

July 4, 1776: Congress Adopts the Declaration of Independence

By |2020-07-03T15:41:32-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, History, Independence Day, Thomas Jefferson|

The adoption of the Declaration of Independence of “the thirteen united States of America” on July 4, 1776 formally ended a process that had been set in motion almost as soon as colonies were established in what became British North America. The early settlers, once separated physically from the British Isles by an immense [...]

Thomas Jefferson, Whig Historian

By |2020-07-04T01:43:12-05:00June 12th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Given how vital a role history placed in the English-speaking world of the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson’s own love of history should not be too shocking. Further, it should not be surprising that Jefferson embraced a rather Whiggish view of history, one that pervaded much of American political, social, cultural, and religious thought. It [...]

“They Live Forever in the American Constellation”: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

By |2020-02-14T23:06:07-06:00February 10th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, History, Independence Day, John Adams, Primary Documents, Thomas Jefferson|

Adams and Jefferson are no more. They are dead. But how little is there of the great and good which can die! To their country they yet live, and live for ever. Their stars have now joined the American Constellation. Beneath this illumination let us walk the course of life, and at its close [...]

Ten Rules for Good Living

By |2019-12-31T22:02:49-06:00December 31st, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Thomas Jefferson, Wisdom|

Thomas Jefferson wrote several lists of advice about the virtuous life to his children, grandchildren, and the children of friends. The final list, which he called “A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life,” was sent during his retirement years from his beloved home of Monticello to Thomas Jefferson Smith, the son of [...]

A Jeffersonian Model of Citizenship

By |2020-05-13T15:40:15-05:00December 18th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Citizen, Citizenship, Civil Society, Essential, Labor/Work, Liberal Learning, Thomas Jefferson|

The assumptions linked to the more deliberative, publicly responsible model of citizenship, though utopian and far-fetched at least within the perspective of modern, western society, can be thought of in a way that makes them seem more practical. Thomas Jefferson, for example, believed both that good government was possible only when those who governed [...]

Proclamation Appointing a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer

By |2019-11-28T12:32:53-06:00November 27th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Presidency, Religion, Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson|

Whereas the Honourable the General Congress, impressed with a grateful sense of the goodness of Almighty God, in blessing the greater part of this extensive continent with plentiful harvests, crowning our arms with repeated successes, conducting us hitherto safely through the perils with which we have been encompassed and manifesting in multiplied instances his divine care [...]

Was Thomas Jefferson a Philosopher?

By |2020-05-13T15:41:57-05:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Essential, Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself “a passive auditor of the opinions of others,” so as to catch the “harmonizing sentiments of the day” and to incorporate them into a document that [...]

Four Things Every American Should Know About Independence Day

By |2020-06-23T16:59:31-05:00July 3rd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Declaration of Independence, History, Independence Day, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson|

The need for understanding our roots is as timeless as the human story itself and explains why we cling to the Declaration of Independence. Most people know that the Fourth of July—Independence Day—is a celebration of America’s separation from Great Britain. July 4, 1776 marks the beginning of the United States. It’s like our national birthday. [...]

The Declaration of Independence: Translucent Poetry

By |2020-06-10T11:03:44-05:00July 3rd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Essential, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, James Madison, Samuel Adams, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

The Declaration of Independence, intended as an expression of the common opinion, is truly a text of "right opinion," a benign practical text which also has a peculiarly sound relation to the realm of thought. Section I:  The Legacy of the Declaration When American schoolchildren first discover that they have a place in the world they [...]

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