Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher by Jon Meacham
The author’s intended audience is young adult and offers all the facts in a readable comprehensive way. He follows Jefferson from childhood, as he watched his father care for their Virginia home, and was taught the importance of manners and of living well.
Losing his father at the age of 14, Jefferson had to mind the estate, and became interested in learning politics and meeting the various authority figures in Virginia. It’s interesting to see the early years, because by the time he shows up in most history books, he’s already in the Continental Congress.
We get to see how he interacted with the other members of the Continental Congress. Jefferson didn’t like confrontation, nor did he care for being criticized or ridiculed. He preferred to bide his time and wait for the opportune moment, putting his argument on the table, or in writing, and persuading others to his way of thinking. He had great skill for eloquence, conveying his point without being crass or rude.
As the book progresses, it describes how he lived during the Revolutionary War. This, the author tells us, inspires Jefferson’s decision to run for President. He became fearful of the direction the nation was taking as a whole, and felt that if he could be President, he would have a better chance at keeping the newly formed United States free of British rule.
He ran again at the end of Adams’ term, and succeeded. He did his best to rectify what he saw as any overtly Federalist notions, and bring the nation ‘back on track’. After his Presidency ended, Jefferson retired to Monticello, where he died on July 4th, 1826.
Overall, the book was enjoyable, and gave me a better grasp of the history of Jefferson’s life and the events around him.
Order in Bibz.