Jefferson in the Flesh
In a review essay for the Wall Street Journal, JMC fellow William Anthony Hay discusses Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty, by John B. Boles (Basic Books).
William Anthony Hay is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the College of Arts & Sciences Institute for the Humanities at Mississippi State. He specializes in British History and International Relations since the eighteenth century. Elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2009, Hay is a past-president of the Southern Conference on British Studies. Along with research grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Earhart Foundation, he has held fellowships at the Lewis Walpole Library and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.
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Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty
John B. Boles
Basic Books, 626 pages, $35
The satirist Finley Peter Dunne once observed, through his character Mr. Dooley, that the Supreme Court follows the election returns. In a similar way, historical scholarship tends to follow the preoccupations of its own time. Thomas Jefferson offers an illuminating example. Though far from uncritical, biographers of Jefferson in the postwar years up to, roughly, the early 1970s—scholars like Dumas Malone and Merrill Peterson—treated him with sympathy and celebrated his Enlightenment ideals. In the mid-1970s, Fawn Brodie changed Jefferson’s public image by highlighting his relationship with the slave Sally Hemings….
Read the complete review at the Wall Street Journal.
John B. Boles is William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University. Professor Boles has also co-edited a volume of essays on Jefferson with Randal L. Hall called Seeing Jefferson Anew in his Time and Ours (University of Virginia Press, 2010).