Jefferson’s Transformation

Even if you’re not watching HBO’s excellent "John Adams" miniseries, be sure to read Matt Malone’s weekly commentary. Matt’s essays go beyond the ordinary "thumbs up/thumbs down" criticism to explore what the series says about our nation’s founding ideals, and our own political moment. In this week’s dispatch, Matt traces the souring relationship between Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a man who was much changed by witnessing the bloody uprising in Paris in 1789.
In our popular history we tend to think of Jefferson as the great romantic idealist of the revolution. His public sentiments were no doubt noble and lofty. Yet his ownership of slaves and his near bloodlust, revealed in his views of the French revolution, reveal a man comfortable with moral ambiguities and harsh political or economic realities when it suited his interests.
Read all of Matt’s reviews here. Tim Reidy
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