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"One of the most provocative studies of Jefferson of the last thirty years. This book effectively challenges the received wisdom of Jefferson's politics--and more generally on the origins of American democracy--in refreshing and wholly original ways."--Sean Wilentz, author of Chants Democratic
"This brilliant book makes a signal contribution to the literature."--Journal of American History
"Elegant and compelling. . . . On the leadng edge of the field."--John M. Murrin, coauthor of Colonial America
"A fresh, intelligent, engaging reinterpretation of Jeffersonian politics . . . significant for anyone interested in Jefferson's thought."--Journal of Politics "Should be compared with Daniel Boorstin's The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson as a contemporary classic."--Perspective: Reviews of New Books
Posted January 6, 2003
Richard Matthews "Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson" is truly an amazing contribution to American historical study. Matthews refutes the "Lockean liberal" cariacture given Jefferson by historians and brings out the radical that he was. Jefferson was not a believer in property rights as an absolute natural right. His "earth belongs to the living"theory clearly shows the radical nature of his thought on societal revolution. Matthews also points out Jefferson's democratic and humanistic views on the "moral sense" that he believed all races and people had.This moral sense is what makes all equal. Jeffersonian government is explored. Radical democracy in the form of "ward republics" is Jefferson's solution for keeping the revolutionary spirit alive. Democracy right down to the local level. Public schools, care of the poor, militia duty, construction of roads, etc would be completed in the ward. Most important wold be the ability of the ward to assemble to resist tyrannical acts of any other sphere of government, state or federal. Overall this is a very informative and myth shattering work! A great buy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.