The Jefferson Image In The American Mind / Edition 1by Merrill D. Peterson
Pub. Date: 11/01/1998
Publisher: University of Virginia
Since its publication in 1960, The Jefferson Image in the American Mind has become a classic of historical scholarship. In it Merrill D. Peterson charts Thomas Jefferson's influence upon American thought and imagination since his death in 1826. Peterson's focus is "not primarily with the truth or falsity of the image either as a whole or in its parts, but rather with its illuminations of the evolving culture and its shaping power. It is posterity's configuration of Jefferson. Even more, however, it is a sensitive reflector, through several generations, of America's troubled search of the image of itself."
- University of Virginia
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My public high school American History teacher was a kinder, gentler version of Professor Kingsfield from the movie "The Paper Chase". Thanks to his high standards, I chose to read and report on Peterson's landmark book just two years after its publication. It gave me insight into historical and political analysis, the value of reasoned thinking, scholarship, and the importance of civic awareness and responsibility. Jefferson's ideas have always been central to American governance and are especially germane in this age of partisan politics. I've frequently thought of Peterson's book with gratitude and for what he's given us all.