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Thomas Jefferson
A Modern Prometheus

$32.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies on the American South

  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108664172

$ 32.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • In Thomas Jefferson: A Modern Prometheus, Wilson Jeremiah Moses provides a critical assessment of Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonian influence. Scholars of American history have long debated the legacy of Thomas Jefferson. However, Moses deviates from other interpretations by positioning himself within an older, 'Federalist' historiographic tradition, offering vigorous and insightful commentary on Jefferson, the man and the myth. Moses specifically focuses on Jefferson's complexities and contradictions. Measuring Jefferson's political accomplishments, intellectual contributions, moral character, and other distinguishing traits against contemporaries like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin but also figures like Machiavelli and Frederick the Great, Moses contends that Jefferson fell short of the greatness of others. Yet amid his criticism of Jefferson, Moses paints him as a cunning strategist, an impressive intellectual, and a consummate pragmatist who continually reformulated his ideas in a universe that he accurately recognized to be unstable, capricious, and treacherous.

    • Presents a controversial and unique interpretation of one of America's most popular founding fathers that conveys Jefferson's complexities and contradictions by drawing comparisons to Prometheus, the Greek god of deception
    • Connects Jeffersonian discourses to other influential American individuals, such as Frederick Douglass and Henry George
    • Provides nuanced and integrated attention to Jefferson's ideas about music, poetry, and literary theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Wilson Jeremiah Moses has assembled a daring intellectual history of Thomas Jefferson that is as bold in its arguments as it is sweeping in its scope. The study's treatment of historical scholarship and literary sources goes beyond detailing the ideas of Jefferson, to guide the reader through the creation, development, and perpetuation of Jeffersonian beliefs. Within this narrative of racism, philosophy, and polemics, Thomas Jefferson: A Modern Prometheus employs gripping prose to sustain a cohesive anthology of the most far-reaching critiques of Jefferson's intellectual reasoning.' Ronald Angelo Johnson, author of Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance

    'Wilson Jeremiah Moses offers us an intriguing, essayistic portrait of Jefferson and of the meanings of Jefferson throughout American history. We get to know how Theodore Roosevelt disliked Jefferson, how Jefferson's agrarianism should be comprehended, what Jeffersonian Confucianism was like, and what to think of his post-feudal world in general.' Ari Helo, author of Thomas Jefferson's Ethics and the Politics of Human Progress

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108664172
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Lincoln and historiography
    3. Let our workshops remain at Monticello
    4. Life, liberty, property, and peace
    5. What is genius? 'Openness, brilliance, and leadership'
    6. A Renaissance man in the age of the Enlightenment
    7. Baconism and natural science
    8. Anthropology and ethnic cleansing: white 'rubbish' blacks, and Indians
    9. Education, religion, and social control
    10. Women and the Count of Monticello
    11. Debt, deference and consumption
    12. Defining the presidency.

  • Author

    Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Pennsylvania State University
    Wilson Jeremiah Moses is Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and the author of six books: The Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850–1925 (1978); Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1982); Alexander Crummell: A Study in Civilization and Discontent (1989); The Wings of Ethiopia: Studies in African-American Life and Letters (1990); Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (Cambridge, 1998); and Creative Conflict in African American Thought (Cambridge, 2004).

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