A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The story of the United States of America is one of a nation founded upon the loftiest ideals of representative government, attempting to fulfill its goals while encountering competing domestic and global forces. From the beginning, Americans debated how their national government should govern, balancing powers between the federal government and the states, which led to the establishment of the first political parties. At the same time, the nation has struggled to reconcile its guarantee of universal rights and individual liberties with several stark realities, including the presence of millions of slaves at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
Nobody spent more time in the thick of these debates than Thomas Jefferson, one of the most famous and revered Americans. Jefferson was instrumental in all of the aforementioned debates, authoring the Declaration of Independence, laying out the ideological groundwork of the notion of states’ rights, leading one of the first political parties, and overseeing the expansion of the United States during his presidency.
But for all of his accomplishments, Jefferson’s reputation and legacy are still inextricably intertwined with the divisive issues of his own day. As the slaveholder who wrote that all men are created equal, and his relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings, Jefferson’s life and career are still sometimes fiercely debated today.
American Legends: The Life of Thomas Jefferson discusses these accomplishments and controversies, while also humanizing the leader whose words literally created a new nation, and whose hand guided the political debates and Manifest Destiny of the nation he helped create. Along with pictures of this Founding Father and other important people and events in his life, you will learn about Jefferson like you never have before, in no time at all.