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[EBOOK DOWNLOAD] American Sphinx The Character of Thomas Jefferson

Fundamentals of Sequential and Parallel Algorithms jMp Clinton election look tame I ve got a whole lot to say about this guy so here goes 1 Jefferson s Agrarian Myth Throughout his life and career Jefferson believed that the USA should be an agrarian society light industry if you please but certainly no manufacturing The Louisiana Purchase was an attempt to continue the growth of the country to the Pacific Ocean to provide a seemingly endless swath of land for the once and future farmers of America to till the land The Hamiltonian vision of commerce banking and the pillars of the current day global economy were an anathema to Jefferson He held so strongly to this unrealistic idyll that he would stop at nearly nothing to fight for his beliefs including a nearly treasonous episode or two with the French while serving as SOS under Washington 2 French Revolution Even with blood in the streets and everyone in America with common sense horrified at The Terror in France Jefferson could not bring himself to see the truth behind the Jacoban menace He believed late in life that the Revolution could have been a peaceful transition if not for cowardice and indecision mostly attributable to the king s failure to side with the future than the past which he blamed on the king s wife In is own words years later I have ever believed that had there been no ueen there would have been no revolution He thought that the pressure of the forces that caused the revolution became unmanageable because of the meddling of a single woman 3 Politics as unusual In a world of bombast and testosterone Jefferson s reticence might have been a breath of fresh air Hamilton Adams etc were men that could give fist pounding oratories for hours Jefferson never He preferred to work behind the scenes and mostly with the pen So far so goodBut Jefferson played a game of consistent deception and denial Hypocrisy never bothered Jefferson however he never owned being a hypocrite This is the worst kind of politician never mind human being and over a long enough period of time you will be found out This is exactly what happened between Jefferson and Hamilton when TJ was Secretary of State and AH was Secretary of Treasury under Washington Jefferson did everything he could to undermine Hamilton behind the scenes once Hamilton was onto his game he outmaneuvered him to finally force his resignation in frustration Jefferson never abandoned his belief that Federalists were nothing short of traitors who had betrayed what he believed to be self evident principles of pure republicanism ie freedom from the meddling of government in favor of a coercive federal government that put into place the very things that the Revolution was fought to remove This wasn t a matter of differing political theories Jefferson found the Federalists full on monarchical not true traitors it was a gauntlet that could never be picked back up but because Jefferson hated direct confrontation eg he was the only major Founding Father other than Franklin that did not see battle in fact he fled the oncoming British army in VA as governor rather than organize the militia in defense he spilled his venom in the press and in back room dealings to subvert his enemy however he could Jefferson claimed to hate political parties He was the one that started them 4 Black and White politics figuratively For all of Jefferson s brilliance and ability to balance two completely opposite beliefs as true and not believe this to be hypocrisy Jefferson had a life long response to all complex political conflicts transform the miasma of opinions and forces into a simplified and exaggerated two sided contest between good and evil This might be why FDR Reagan and Bill Clinton all have turned to Jefferson for proof text source material in their political battle cries against the evil duour but any human that has lived with their eyes wide open for 20 years on this planet understands that human interactions are rarely ever black and white and politics never A politician that plays this game is very very dangerous history has proved this point time and again 5 Black and White politics literally I m not going to try and grab the slave owning Jefferson and pull him into the 21st century and take him to task on the biggest blight on America but I absolutely can udge him by what he Wrote About Slaves African Americans In General And Also By about slaves African Americans in general and also by measuring stick of other Virginia contemporariesJefferson hated slavery but not enough to ever really do anything much about it other than write letters and thoughts that were all over the map and like many things Jeffersonian conflicting His way of dealing with the slavery issue was to sweep it under the map for another generation to deal with and hope that it would disappear of its own accord This from the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence Hey Tom why didn t you use that logic when it came to the British problems and King George s heavy hand He was at his worst when the Missouri uestion reared its head Jefferson s take Let slavery spread itself across the USA it would upend itself from spreading itself so thin Say what Even Adams who at this point in his correspondence with TJ was light handed had to take him to task One of the worst morally bankrupt and wrong headed idyllic notions from a man full of themJefferson believed that Indians could be integrated into American society that blacks had no chance The final measurement on Jefferson about the slave issue is his into American but that blacks had no chance The final measurement on Jefferson about the slave issue is his of his own slaves Washington another Founding Father that abhorred the institution and wished it gone also realized the impossibility of creating a republic out of the 13 colonies if the abolition of slavery were to be put on the table put his money where his heart was and freed all of his slaves in his 1799 will True he was the only FF to free his slaves upon death but as a fellow Virginian that could have taken a page from the Godfather of the USofA Jefferson refused to follow in step and only freed a handful of slaves upon his death Not included in that list was Sally Hemings which is the cause for my biggest issue with Jefferson 6 Sally Hemings Whether or not Jefferson had a liaison with his slave Sally Hemings has been the longest running Presidential soap opera in American history Did he or didn t he In November of 1998 a DNA comparison between Jefferson s Y chromosome and the Y chromosome of Hemings descendants proved a match between the white Jefferson and the Hemings family line During the 1950s an authoritative six volume bio of Jefferson by Dumas Malone s research revealed that Jefferson was at Monticello nine months prior to the birth of Sally s children several of which favored him strongly in facial features These facts put the burden of proof that there was no liaison back on the nay sayersSally was a slave property and by that definition she had no rights and no way to give her denial to sexual congress with her owner Without consent a sexual act is considered rape by any definition Not every Southern Gentleman slept with their slaves but this President didBut let s say that it was consensual or even that there was love between Thomas and Sally What kind of monster that father s children by a woman that he loves would not mention her in his will to free her from the horrors of the industry that he claimed to loathe Viewed in either lens that is scumbaggery pure and simpleI kept wanting to find something to deeply admire about Jefferson I really did I give him props for the Declaration but I also like Knut Hamsun s writing in spite of him being a Nazi sympathizer ust because someone can write beautifully isn t enough for me to want to build a monument for them Americans love their heroes and once they achieve membership in the pantheon we find it difficult to separate the man from the myth I m sure there are many other great things that Jefferson did as a leader and if I were to ever turn to another bio of him I might find other things that he did to benefit the world but for now I ve had enough of TJ and am putting him back on the shelf where he belongs and not retaining him in my personal collection of historical figures that made the planet a better place. A marvel of scholarship a delight to read and an essential gloss on the Jeffersonian lega.

FREE DOWNLOAD é E-book, or Kindle E-pub ç Joseph J. Ellis

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American Sphinx The Character of Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson has always been my favorite of the Founding Fathers I won t deny that part of it is because I do like a good scandal But the other part is because he s simply fascinating I ve always loved thie combination of ego and indulgence passion and beautiful reason that he exhibits I love his writings This book is by the same guy who did Founding Brothers which is also fascinating and won a Pulitzer Prize so the guy knows what he s talking about He doesn t reveal much new about Jefferson it s about the perspective on him that he brings Really makes him seem alive and close to the reader It does say its about his character and that s very true And since that is the most fascinating part about him That makes for a good interesting read After my frustration with Meacham s Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power I was hopeful Ellis would give me a better grasp on Jefferson s character He did not disappoint Jefferson it is still hard to grasp he is elusive but Ellis captures Jefferson s contradictions hypocrisy a little paranoia his ideologies and his issue with slavery Since this was a focused character assessment it wasn t a true biography He skips Jefferson s early life and while he addresses many of the major historical points he skips Jefferson s time as Secretary of State to Washington and his second term as president 200ish pages fewer than The Art of Power text proper not including the notes section of either and I felt I got a lot out of this Ellis seemed to take things at a lot face value than Meacham s glossing over and The Real Ebonics Debate justifications but fans of Jefferson can t assume Ellis was out to get him in showing the negative aspects The skipped sections I mention were rife with issues ie in the JeffersonHamilton embattlement as Secretaries to Washington from which TJ resigned and his 2nd presidential term many have dubbed a failure A TJ hater could have pulled from those periods easily but Ellis appeared to be looking for different aspects and perhaps those illustrate character aspects already covered Additionally Ellis rightfully sings Jefferson s praises where appropriate he was remarkable in many ways and in the end I came away feeling slightly better about TJ than when I went in As I read American Sphinx an odd thing happened The I learnt about Jefferson the less I liked him The Jefferson of Ellis biography is an arrogant obsessive ideologue whose successes are the lucky results of others hard work and whose failures are inevitable given his substantial flaws As someone who was looking to like Jefferson this was all pretty disappointing Ellis biography follows Jefferson from his first entrance into public life right until his providential death on July 4th 1826 and the same day as his friendenemy John Adams Over the course of thisourney we see Jefferson evolve from a uiet but brilliant polemicist into the leader of the Republican faction which calls for a small and relatively weak central governmentIn modern terms Jefferson of course would have been a contradiction a progressive who fought his entire life for smaller government It s this defying of modern political boundaries that allow both sides today to claim as their ownIf Ellis has an angle it is his attempt to delve into Jefferson s psyche His contradictions were too overt argues Ellis yet his dialogue too sincere to be hypocrisy His conclusion is that Jefferson was a master not When Action Follows Heart just of deception but of SELF deception he compartmentalized certain ideas in parts of his brain where they needed not be bothered by other contradictory ideas that he heldust as sincerely Thus the small government president who purchases Louisiana from the French the anti slave crusader who is himself a slaveowner the self indulgent aristocrat who surrounds himself with luxury yet spend his entire life in crushing debt and passes his debt to his children when he dies This is not hypocrisy argues Ellis this is compartmentalizationOf course such an argument sounds ridiculous when stated so baldly and I think for good reason Ellis is attempting to draw deep psychological conclusions from sources that are entirely public Letters That Jefferson Wrote that Jefferson wrote with the intention of their being published Positions he publicly took or speeches he gave Each and every one of these had an agenda and while we may want to believe in compartmentalization since it leaves intact the image of the honest Jefferson there s another much obvious explanation that Occam demands we accept political expediencyEven if horror of horrors Jefferson turns out to have been a politician he remains one of the most visionary and influential of our history and if I took one major realization away from this book it was this that one of the central essences of our American flavor of democracy the conscious limiting of the rights and powers of the central government and the constant clamoring for smaller and less at the federal level comes directly and almost singularly from Jefferson Had it been up to Washington Adams and Hamilton early democracy in the United States would not doubt have taken a far European form As is Jefferson and his disciples Madison and Monroe provided a crucial opposition voice at a crucial time a voice that continues to resonate in today s conservative circles and the Tea Party movement And while I might not agree with that voice all the time I m glad it s thereI would not recommend this book to others as an introduction to Jefferson for three reasons The first the psycho babble described above Second the book s odd chronology it leaves large gaps in the Jefferson story including for example his entire tenure as Secretary of State under Washington and his second term as president Was this period really so uneventful that it doesn t deserve mention And really practically no mention is givenThird is I really can t be sure that the portrait Ellis is painting might not itself be a politically skewed one His portrayal so one sided that one puts down the book longing for a objective take I suspected throughout that Ellis felt his own conclusion so strongly that Jefferson was a self deceiver that he was arguing it with his every decision of inclusion or omission The result is a Jefferson that is at best a self deceiver at worst a craven hypocriteOne way or another Jefferson whether the Jefferson of American Sphinx or the Jefferson of Wikipedia DOES end up disappointing if only because the soaring of his ideals clashes so arringly with his somewhat uglier reality A provocative survey of an enlightenment thinker and statesman who could never outdistance his contradictions My friend Mark Prather selected this for samizdat and a number of us read such and with a formality of discussion The passage of a couple decades would likely have adjusted those younger impressions God was not in the details for Jefferson he was in the sky and stars Joseph J Ellis American SphinxEllis biography of Thomas Jefferson s character is a difficult task than one might imagine at first Jefferson while brilliant with words is also a founding father of Jefferson while brilliant with words is also a founding father of He was comfortable with ambiguity but saw things in black and white He had a great ability to mask his feelings and deceive himself He was a visionary and prophet in the mountains whose biggest creation was not concrete Washington created the Great Man of America Hamilton created America s government Madison created our Constitution Adams helped to create the revolution Jefferson created an idea and an ideal His vision of personal freedom and liberty floated in a realm of make believe but also in a place of dreams It was an ideal that was clear enough to seduce generations of Americans but opaue enough to allow that ideal to be held by opposing forces Ellis doesn t try to tackle the whole of Jefferson His biography umps around and almost completely English for Academic Correspondence and Socializing jumps over his Vice Presidency his second term as President etc Ellis isn t trying to re travel the well traveled histories He wants to figure out the complexities of the man He wants to put the smoke into a bottle He does a pretty goodob However he missed the boat by a couple years on Sally Hemings and gave Jefferson a bit too much cred. Following his subject from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to his retirem. It on that But he doesn t pull many punches He captures the paranoia of Jefferson his ideologies his contradictions his issue with slavery his ability to bend when needed and get around his own hypocrisy It is a good biography ust not a great one I enjoyed this very much It s not a straight biography of Jefferson but as the subtitle says it s an attempt to analyze his character The book is very readable if you are reasonably familiar with the important people and events in the early years of AmericaIt s a fascinating study of the man s inherent contradictions the most obvious being that Jefferson was a slaveowner who became famous for his writings on euality and personal freedomIn my 1996 edition of this book Ellis writes that he does not believe that Jefferson had an affair with Sally Hemings Ellis decided that Jefferson lacked the capacity for the direct and physical expression of his sexual energies I thought this a rather strange view considering that Martha Jefferson s health was eroded by repeated pregnancies In later editions of the book Ellis acknowledges that a 1998 DNA study offered proof that at least one of Sally s children was fathered by Jefferson and it was therefore likely that they were all fathered by him I wonder if this revelation made Ellis uestion any of his other conclusions about Jefferson s character American Sphinx Joseph J Ellis 1996 Historical revisionist Joseph J Ellis ostensibly enjoys championing himself as a renegade historian unafraid to attempt to topple one the most well respected and admired of America s founding fathers Recklessly wielding his anachronistic values upon Thomas Jefferson American Sphinx escalates into a full contact assault on one the most important and revered figures in western culture Thomas Jefferson is no longer the successful plantation owner but a hypocritical slave owner Jefferson is no longer humble and soft spoken but simply nervous and unsure of himself Jefferson s tenacious pursuit of his many interests are depicted as merely self indulgent and materialistic Ellis mostly appears foolish in his attempt to elicit controversy It is disturbing that this desperate and amateurishly written book has become as widely read has it has In leu of a three hundred page book American Sphinx would have been appropriately formated as a three minute segment on National Public Radio This book is a series of portraits than a biography It doesn t tell Jefferson s story in one long arc but rather captures him at significant periods of his life This method works well for Ellis see Founding Brothers probably because the broader view allows him to write lyrically than a stick to the facts biography would allow What emerges from Jefferson s portraits is a man with extraordinary powers of self delusion These powers enabled him to bemoan slavery while owning slaves deny ambition while pursuing high office and defame contemporaries while protesting his innocence and friendship Jefferson s hypocrisies are known to most people but this book really drives them homeEllis doesn t focus solely on Jefferson s flaws though Which is not to say that Jefferson was wholly Ultimately though whatever his glaring personal flaws his words and ideas retain a powerful ability to inspire people Without the Declaration there is probably no Bill of Rights no French Declaration of the Rights of Man and no United Nations Declaration of Human Rights I suppose I knew what I was getting into with this book The subtitle hints at the fact that this is a pretty thoroughgoing psychological history rather than a historical narrative Ellis posits Jefferson as an inscrutable figure shielded from effective analysis by a contradictory philosophy as well as a reserved personality Both of which may be true but both of which made this book scanty on real insight Ellis doesn t spend much time asking why Jefferson was the way he was a pretty worthwhile uestion I think instead showing in rather too much detail how he was an aristocratic populist a slaveholding champion of individual liberty The contradictions are there to be sure Ellis ust leaves it at that a little too patly As a character study it s fair to say that a good bit of this book is speculative Ellis recounts the competing ideologies and their theoretical underpinnings of several major characters there is a good comparisoncontrast of Adams and Jefferson here but he often characters there is a good comparisoncontrast of Adams and Jefferson here but he often or forgets the complexity of human nature reducing a man to a particular ideology s figureheadHis style is commensurately abstract Dealing primarily with uestions of philosophy and character he assumes a rather lofty nebulous tone that conveys his intent well enough but can start to drone after a while That s a shame since the beginning of his discussion hinges on correcting the popular image of Jefferson I can t imagine that the layperson who ostensibly has this limited view of Jefferson would be interested enough to stick with this dense little bookThis is a history of ideas of beliefs and of ideals But too often it neglects the historical and in so doing obfuscates the ideas beliefs and ideals it tries to explain Frustrating It started when I was reading Ambrose s Undaunted Courage this niggling feeling of discomfort I get when reading a book when the author seems to be taking opportunities to lionize hisher subjects or at the very least portraying them in a simplistic single facet I ve had this issue with Ambrose before and I know enough about his writing to stay away from his excoriated Eisenhower bio and while I enjoyed his bio of Meriwether Lewis it stay away from his excoriated Eisenhower bio and while I enjoyed his bio of Meriwether Lewis it his portrayal of Thomas Jefferson that had me scratching my head Was he the late 18th early 19th century version of our 21st century John Muir What was really behind the mask I wanted to learn Before taking up a direct source on Jefferson I turned to his greatest enemy Alexander Hamilton an historical figure I knew vaguely Several friends had recommended Chernow s bio I wasn t disappointed It is a masterful work of research writing and most importantly proper distance from the biographer s subject I ll reserve about that work for a review to be written later under that book s entry the importance here is that it painted Jefferson in such a terrible light that I couldn t imagine that Chernow would be so even handed with Hamilton but turn the blade on Jefferson Was he being unfair to our third President or was he showing the man for who he really was ust as he was doing with Alexander Hamilton It was time to turn to a book specifically on JeffersonRather than take up one of the many volumes of biography on Jefferson I was most interested in understanding the man his character in light of his times I try very hard not to bring any historical figure into my current day s morality and civic sensibilities Joseph Ellis calls this presentism the perfect word for that notion I try to see the man or woman for all that they were given their particular environment American Sphinx was exactly the book I was looking for a brilliantly researched and beautifully written book about the thing I am most interested in the character of for a brilliantly researched and beautifully written book about the thing I am most interested in the character of JeffersonIf you are a huge Jefferson fan I ll save you my polemics and tell you to read no further because I really can t stand the man He was well written extremely smart and to some a very good friend In his time on the national scene I can find two instances of where he contributed greatly to the founding of a fledgling new republic the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase OK I ll throw in him green lighting the Lewis and Clarke expedition as a third Almost everything else about the man screams a two faced punctilious pig headed didact that was a venomous back biting man to every and anyone that crossed his very misguided utopian world view with the exception of John Adams with whom he worked extra hard when out of office to bury the hatchet and re work their friendship Yes yes there are exceptions to this but make no mistake Jefferson s anti Federalist stance and his willingness to stoop to the lowest mudslinging perpetrated by his underlings Madison being his chief agent makes the Tru. Ent in Monticello Joseph Ellis unravels the contradictions of the Jeffersonian character. ,

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