Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century

Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century

by Clay S. Jenkinson

He penned the thirty-five most revolutionary words in the history of the English language: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson has written a bold call for a Jeffersonian renewal in America.

"We need the Sage of Monticello's vision as we begin what is the most difficult periods of American history." The Jeffersonian consists of self-reliance, an uncompromising dedication to liberty (over security, profit, comfort, and tradition), an unambiguous wall of seperation between church and state, first-rate public education, thoughtfulness and diffidence about America's place in the world, and a commitment to civility.

Jefferson brought genius (not to mention reason, good sense, and idealism) to whatever he undertook, and he believed that the purpose of America was not to seek glory and profit in the world's arena, but to build a nation of equality, justice, and cultural achievement.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 4.34
  • Pages: 131
  • Publish Date: January 21st 2005 by Marmarth Press
  • Isbn10: 1930806221
  • Isbn13: 9781930806221

What People Think about "Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century"

I realize that Jefferson had a patronizing attitude toward women in public life, and that his preference for women who exhibited, "that softness of disposition which is the ornament of her sex and the charm of ours," has a grating effect on enlightened men and women of our time. By now, it is clear to everyone that the man Thomas Jefferson was not always equal to the ideals he so beautifully espoused. Jefferson was closer to the Enlightenment ideals than most people of his time. Jefferson knew this, his willingness to articulate the universal from within the messier world of actual life in eighteenth century Virginia, or Philadelphia, or Paris, is in fact the foundation of his greatness.

I thought the author would contextualize more about Jefferson's theories in these days and convince us why they are still valid.

I recently started using the book as a way to rebutt arguments of an aquaintance who practically worships Jefferson and gives him saintly attributes which, frankly, I don't believe he possesed. For almost every quote this person comes up with, I can show an opinion 180 degrees different in this book.

Conversely, however, Jefferson was also an idealist, a free thinker, and a radical that believed that change was beneficial in keeping the nation strong. It is these more positive qualities and other like ideals that the author believes that politicians should adopt in rebuilding a stronger nation.

And now, with easier access to more information than any time in history, there is little reason to be able to say "I didn't know" when government takes us down a path not of our liking.

I saw this guy live impersonating Thomas Jefferson.

Clay Jenkinson is one of the most sought-after humanities scholars in the United States A cultural commentator who has devoted most of his professional career to public humanities programs, Clay Jenkinson has been honored by two presidents for his work. Clay is also widely sought after as a commencement speaker (he has several honorary doctorates); as a facilitator of teacher institutes on Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Classical Culture, the Millennium, and other topics; as a lecturer on topics ranging from the "Unresolved Issues of the Millennium," to the "Character of Meriwether Lewis"; as a consultant to a range of humanities programs, chiefly first person historical interpretation (Chautauqua). Best known for his award-winning historical impersonations of Thomas Jefferson, Clay Jenkinson also impersonates other characters, including Meriwether Lewis, John Wesley Powell, Robert Oppenheimer, Theodore Roosevelt and John Steinbeck.