The Essential Jefferson
  • The Essential Jefferson
  • The Essential Jefferson

The Essential Jefferson

by Thomas Jefferson

This extraordinary primer offers a superb survey of Jeffersonian thought. It features writings on political and economic philosophy, morals and religion, intellectual freedom and progress, education, secession, slavery, and more.See more details below


This extraordinary primer offers a superb survey of Jeffersonian thought. It features writings on political and economic philosophy, morals and religion, intellectual freedom and progress, education, secession, slavery, and more.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Books on Americana Series
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Public papers and addresses
1A summary view of the rights of British America (1774)3
2A declaration by the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled (with Jefferson's original draft and congressional amendments) (1776)18
3The Declaration of Independence (as adopted by Congress) (1776)23
4A bill for establishing religious freedom (1777)27
5Report on government for western territory (1784)29
6Opinion on the constitutionality of a national bank (1791)32
7Opinion on the French treaties (1793)37
8Draft of the Kentucky resolutions (1798)48
9First inaugural address (1801)55
10To messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and others, a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the state of Connecticut (1802)59
11Second inaugural address (1805)60
12Report of the commissioners for the University of Virginia (1818)65
Excerpts from Notes on Virginia (1782)
1Query VI (a quarrel with Buffon : the new world is not inferior)79
2Query VIII (should America encourage immigration?)89
3Query XI (a description of the Indians)94
4Query XIII (the Virginian constitution)98
5Query XIV (the laws of Virginia : slavery, the natural endowments of the black race, education)109
6Query XVII (religious freedom)125
7Query XVIII (the effect of slavery on manners)130
8Query XIX (agrarian virtue)132
9Query XXII (commerce, shipping, and self-defense)134
1To Edmund Pendleton, Aug. 26, 1776 (early views on constitutionalism)141
2To David Rittenhouse, July 19, 1778 (an obligation higher than politics)143
3To John Jay, Aug. 23, 1785 (a preference for sailors over manufacturers)146
4To Charles Bellini, Sept. 30, 1785 (French and American morals)148
5To John Banister, Jr., Oct. 15, 1785 (the disadvantage of study abroad)150
6To James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785 (a "fundamental right to labor")153
7To James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787 (Shays's rebellion and western secession)155
8To Anne Willing Bingham, Feb. 7, 1787 ("the tranquil pleasures" of American society)159
9To Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787 (the moral sense)161
10To William S. Smith, Nov. 13, 1787 ("the tree of liberty")166
11To James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787 (objections to the Constitution)168
12To Francis Hopkinson, Mar. 13, 1789 (party : "the last degradation of a free and moral agent")172
13To James Madison, Mar. 15, 1789 (a bill of rights)174
14To James Madison, Sept. 6, 1789 ("the earth belongs to the living")176
15To Benjamin Banneker, Aug. 30, 1791 (equality and "our black brethren")181
16To the President of the United States (George Washington), Sept. 9, 1792 (the conflict with Alexander Hamilton)182
17To Elbridge Gerry, Jan. 26, 1799 ("a profession of my political faith")190
18To William Green Munford, June 18, 1799 (progress and perfectibility)193
19To Dr. Joseph Priestley, Mar. 21, 1801 (something new under the sun)196
20To the U.S. Minister to France (Robert Livingston), Apr. 18, 1802 (the strategic importance of New Orleans)198
21To Benjamin Hawkins, Feb. 18, 1803 (a plan for civilizing Indians)201
22To Wilson Cary Nicholas, Sept. 7, 1803 (the Louisiana Purchase and constitutional amendments)203
23To Henri Gregoire, Feb. 25, 1809 (Negro equality and rights)205
24To John Tyler, May 26, 1810 (education and the wards)206
25To John B. Colvin, Sept. 20, 1810 (the "law of necessity and self-preservation")208
26To John Adams, June 15, 1813 (an airing of our political differences)211
27To John Adams, Oct. 28, 1813 (the natural aristocracy)214
28To J. Correa de Serra, Apr. 19, 1814 (happiness and virtue)220
29To Thomas Law, June 13, 1814 (the moral sense)222
30To Joseph C. Cabell, Feb. 2, 1816 ("divide the counties into wards")226
31To P. S. Dupont de Nemours, Apr. 24, 1816 (the moral principles on which government is founded)229
32To John Taylor, May 28, 1816 (what is a republic?)233
33To Francis W. Gilmer, June 7, 1816 (the sense of justice is natural to man)237
34To Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816 (how to reform the Virginian constitution)239
35To Isaac H. Tiffany, Aug. 26, 1816 ("this new principle of representative democracy")246
36To Nathaniel Burwell, Mar. 14, 1818 (ideas on female education)247
37To Judge Spencer Roane, Sept. 6, 1819 (constitutional construction)250
38To John Holmes, April 22, 1820 ("a fire bell in the night")254
39To Jared Sparks, Feb. 4, 1824 (a plan for emancipation)256
40To Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824 (the lessons of experience; Christianity and the common law)260
41To Henry Lee, May 8, 1825 ("the object of the Declaration of Independence")267
42To William Branch Giles, Dec. 26, 1825 (resistance to consolidation)269
43To James Madison, Feb. 17, 1826 ("take care of me when dead")273
44To Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826 (last thoughts on the Declaration of Independence)277

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