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Developing Freedom: Thomas Jefferson, the State, and Human Capability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 April 2013

Johann N. Neem*
Western Washington University


Thomas Jefferson is often invoked as an advocate of limited government and a defender of individual rights. This article argues that rights were Jefferson's starting place. Jefferson also believed that American citizens should have opportunities to develop the capabilities necessary to enjoy the full use of their rights. Rather than thinking about Jefferson as progovernment or antigovernment, this article concludes that we must understand the particular kind of government Jefferson desired, the ends he had in mind, and why and how those ends differed from his Federalist predecessors. A better understanding of Jefferson's statecraft not only offers a new perspective on the relationship between government and rights in Jefferson's thought but also how and why Jeffersonians in power used the state to promote individual freedom.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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1. The classic essay is Skocpol, Theda, “Bringing the State Back In: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research,” in Bringing the State Back In, ed. Evans, Peter B., Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, and Skocpol, Theda (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 337CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Orren, Karen and Skowronek, Stephen, The Search for American Political Development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schudson, Michael, “The ‘Public Sphere’ and Its Problems: Bringing the State (Back) In,” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy 8 (1994): 529–46Google Scholar. For Jefferson's era see John, Richard R., “Governmental Institutions as Agents of Change: Rethinking American Political Development in the Early Republic, 1787–1835,” Studies in American Political Development 11 (1997): 347–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995)Google Scholar; Novak, William J., “The Myth of the ‘Weak' American State,” American Historical Review 113 (2008): 752–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996)Google Scholar; Balogh, Brian, A Government Out of Sight: The Mystery of National Authority in Nineteenth-Century America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and The State of the State Among Historians,” Social Science History 27, no. 3 (fall 2003): 455–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wilson, Mark L., “Law and the American State, from the Revolution to the Civil War: Institutional Growth and Structural Change,” in The Cambridge History of Law in America, vol. 2: “The Long Nineteenth Century,” ed. Grossberg, Michael and Tomlins, Christopher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 135Google Scholar.

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7. Much work has explored the myriad ways in which Jefferson and Jeffersonians made use of state power. Examples include Adams, Henry, History of the United States during the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson (New York: A & C Boni 1930 [1889–91])Google Scholar; Levy, Leonard W., Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963)Google Scholar; Peterson, Merrill D., Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), 775–76Google Scholar; McDonald, Forrest, The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson (Lawrences, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1976)Google Scholar; Bourgin, Frank, The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic (New York: G. Braziller, 1989), chs. 7–8Google Scholar; Tucker, Robert W. and Hendrickson, David C., Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)Google Scholar; Schmitt, Gary J., “Thomas Jefferson and the Presidency,” in Inventing the American Presidency, ed. Cronin, Thomas E. (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1989), 326–46Google Scholar; Larson, John Lauritz, Internal Improvement: National Public Works and the Promise of Popular Government in the Early United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001)Google Scholar; Onuf, Peter S. and Sadosky, Leonard J., Jeffersonian America (Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishers, 2002), 139–71Google Scholar; Bailey, Jeremy D., Thomas Jefferson and Executive Power (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Yoo, John, Crisis and Command: The History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush (New York: Kaplan, 2009), 99143Google Scholar. In a recent essay examining the sources of American revenue and federal spending, Max M. Edling stresses continuity between the Federalist and Jeffersonian eras. See Edling, “The Origin, Structure, and Development of the American Fiscal Regime, 1789–1837,” in Taxation, State, and Civil Society in Germany and the United States from the 18th to the 20th Century, ed. Nuetzenadel, Alexander and Strupp, Christoph (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2007), 2549Google Scholar.

8. Balogh, Government Out of Sight, 3, 121, 114.

9. Zuckert, Michel P., The Natural Rights Republic: Studies in the Foundation of the American Political Tradition (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996), 27Google Scholar, argues that Jefferson believed that “the security of rights can be the only legitimate end of political society.” See also Mayer, David N., The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994)Google Scholar.

10. For a discussion of Jefferson's ideas of human nature see Yarbrough, Jean, American Virtues: Thomas Jefferson on the Character of a Free People (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1998)Google Scholar. See also Pangle, Lorraine Smith and Pangle, Thomas, The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1993), 250–64Google Scholar.

11. Federalists were not inherently opposed to these goals. In might be argued that Federalists laid the foundations for Jefferson's project by encouraging young men to seek education and careers “beyond the farm,” as J. M. Opal put it in his recent book. Federalists linked individual ambition to national glory, and urged young people to improve themselves in order to improve the nation. For better or for worse, Jefferson started from the opposite premise: the nation exists to serve individuals, not the other way around. Opal, J. M., Beyond the Farm: National Ambitions in Rural New England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12. Jefferson, Thomas, “Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions” (Oct. 1798) in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, ed. Peterson, Merrill D. (New York: Library of America, 1984), 454Google Scholar. Hereafter cited as TJW.

13. Jefferson, “First Inaugural Address” (Mar. 4, 1801) in TJW: 494.

14. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 14, in TJW: 263.

15. Jefferson, “Autobiography,” in TJW: 44–45.

16. Murrin, John M., “Can Liberals Be Patriots? Natural Right, Virtue, and Moral Sense in the America of George Mason and Thomas Jefferson,” in Natural Rights and Natural Law: The Legacy of George Mason, ed. Davidow, Robert P. (Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1986), 3565Google Scholar; Sheldon, Garrett Ward, The Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991)Google Scholar. Pocock, J. G. A., The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), 532–45Google Scholar; Banning, Lance, The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978)Google Scholar; McCoy, Drew, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980)Google Scholar; Murrin, John M., “The Great Inversion, or Court versus Country: A Comparison of the Revolution Settlements in England (1688–1721) and America (1776–1816),” in Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1689, 1776, ed. Pocock, J. G. A. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 368453Google Scholar. More generally see Rodgers, Daniel T., “Republicanism: The Career of a Concept,” Journal of American History 79 (June 1992): 1138CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17. As the debate between republicans and liberals wore on, scholars rightly noted that Jefferson drew on both traditions at different times and for different purposes, suggesting that the two traditions were not mutually exclusive. See, among many sources, Kalyvas and Katznelson, Liberal Beginnings; Sheldon, Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson.

18. Appleby has made this claim in several places. See Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s (New York: New York University Press, 1984)Google Scholar; What Is Still American in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson?William and Mary Quarterly (April 1982): 287309Google Scholar; Jefferson and His Complex Legacy” in Jeffersonian Legacies, ed. Onuf, Peter S. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993), 116Google Scholar; Thomas Jefferson and the Psychology of Democracy” in The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race, and the New Republic, ed. Horn, James, Lewis, Jan, and Onuf, Peter S. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002), 155–72Google Scholar.

19. Appleby, Joyce, Thomas Jefferson (New York: Times Books, 2003), 32Google Scholar. See also McDonald, Robert M. S., “The (Federalist?) Presidency of Thomas Jefferson,” in A Companion to Thomas Jefferson, ed. Cogliano, Francis D. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 164–83Google Scholar.

20. Appleby and Duane quoted in Appleby, “Thomas Jefferson and the Psychology of Democracy,” 161. It might be added that Jefferson did not think that people were naturally capable of self-government even if they had a natural right to it. He believed that culture and history played vital roles. To Jefferson, therefore, it would not be enough to return to natural man; one then had to build up. He thus concluded during the French Revolution that “some preparation seems necessary to qualify the body of a nation for self-government” (TJ to Dr. Joseph Priestley, Nov. 29, 1802, in The Works of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Ford, Paul L., 12 vols. (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904–05)Google Scholar, 9: 404–6 [hereafter cited as TJF.]). Similarly, Jefferson concluded in 1803 that French Louisianans “are as yet as incapable of self government as children.” (TJ to DeWitt Clinton, Dec. 2, 1803, TJF 10:54–55). On these points see Steele, Brian Douglas, Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

21. Wiebe, Robert H., Self-Rule: A Cultural History of American Democracy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 27Google Scholar.

22. Recently, there have been some efforts to invoke the populist Jefferson. See Katz, Claudio, “Thomas Jefferson's Liberal Anticapitalism,” American Journal of Political Science 47 (Jan. 2003): 117CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hardt, Michael, “Jefferson and Democracy,” American Quarterly (2007): 4178CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Wilentz's, Sean recent Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (New York: Norton, 2005)Google Scholar; Huston, James L., Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765–1900 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1998)Google Scholar. Matthews, Richard K., Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson: A Revisionist View (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1984)Google Scholar, offers a sophisticated understanding of Jeffersonian populism because he recognizes that Jefferson's distributive schemes and his fight against interests were always to promote individual freedom and happiness. In addition, students of Jefferson's conception of executive power have noted that Jefferson helped lay the foundations for the imperial presidency by linking the president's exercise of his powers to the people themselves. In this view, expressed most recently by Bailey, Thomas Jefferson and Executive Power, and Yoo, Crisis and Command, 126–36, the president portrays himself as an agent of the people, creating a populist justification for a broad reading of executive power. On this point, see also Milkis, Sidney A. and Nelson, Michael, The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776–1990 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1990), 87106Google Scholar; Ketcham, Ralph, Presidents above Party: The First American Presidency, 1789–1829 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984)Google Scholar; Ackerman, Failure of the Founding Fathers. Onuf, Peter S., Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 2000)Google Scholar, moves beyond the populist perspective. Onuf explores why Jefferson believed that the common good would emerge naturally from the people's will. Onuf suggests that Jefferson's vision was ultimately cosmopolitan in scope. He imagined a world of self-governing republics held together by citizens' natural ties of affection. Onuf offers a sophisticated understanding of the intellectual foundations for Jefferson's faith in popular democracy.

23. Hurst, J. Willlard, Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1956)Google Scholar.

24. From a theoretical perspective, see Anderson, Elizabeth S., “What is the Point of Equality?Ethics 109 (Jan. 1999): 287337CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25. Edling, Max, “Political Economy,” in A Companion to Thomas Jefferson, ed. Cogliano, Francis D., chap. 27Google Scholar.

26. Yarbrough, American Virtues, 102–52; Matthews, Radical Politics.

27. Yarbrough, American Virtues, 55.

28. TJ, Query 19, Notes on the State of Virginia, TJW: 290–91; TJ to William Ludlow, Sept. 6, 1824, TJW: 1496–97. See Yarbrough, American Virtues, 55–101. See also Edling, “Political Economy”; Sloan, Herbert, Principle and Interest: Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Debt (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)Google Scholar; McCoy, The Elusive Republic; Huston, Securing the Fruits of Labor; Steele, Jefferson and American Nationhood.

29. The importance of generations in Jefferson's thought is emphasized in Onuf, Peter S., The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2007), 169–78Google Scholar; Hardt, “Jefferson and Democracy”; and Matthews, Radical Politics.

30. TJ to James Madison, Sept. 6, 1789, TJW: 959–64, at 959. See also TJ to John Wayles Eppes, June 24, 1813, TJW: 1280–86; TJ to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816, TJW: 1395–1403. My understanding of Jeffersonian political economy depends on Huston, Securing the Fruits of Labor. See also Onuf, Mind of Thomas Jefferson, 110–17; Hardt, “Jefferson and Democracy”; Mayer, Constitutional Thought, 302–8; Katz, “Jefferson's Liberal Anticapitalism”; Bourgin, Great Challenge, chaps. 7–8; Sloan, Principle and Interest; Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order; McCoy, The Elusive Republic; Miller, Charles, Jefferson and Nature: An Interpretation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 199216Google Scholar.

31. For a discussion of the impact of Jefferson's entail and primogeniture reforms, see Brewer, Holly, “Entailing Aristocracy in Colonial Virginia: ‘Ancient Feudal Restraints' and Revolutionary Reform,” William and Mary Quarterly 54 (April 1997): 307–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32. TJ to James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785, TJW: 840–43.

33. Ibid. See also TJ to George Washington, Nov. 14, 1786, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 34 vols. to date (Princeton, 1950- ), 10: 531–33 (hereafter cited as TJP).

34. On these points, see TJ to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816, in Lipscomb, Andrew A. and Bergh, Albert Ellery, eds., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1905), XIV: 466Google Scholar (herafter cited as Lipscomb). I thank Joyce Appleby for bringing this letter to my attention. For a discussion of Jefferson's theory of labor, see Huston, Securing the Fruits of Labor.

35. TJ to James Madison, Oct. 28, 1785, TJW: 840–43, at 841–42.

36. Jefferson, Query 19 in Notes on the State of Virginia, TJW: 290–91.

37. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 22, TJW: 300. See Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order; Onuf and Sadosky, Jeffersonian America, 139–71.

38. For such a reading, see Mayer, Constitutional Thought, 74–83.

39. Jefferson, “Draft Constitution for Virginia” (June 1776), TJW: 343.

40. Discussion and quotes from Peterson, Merrill D., Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (New York, 1970), 121–22Google Scholar. See also “Editorial Note,” TJP 2: 133–38.

41. United States Department of the Treasury, Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, on the subject of public roads & canals (reprint, New York: A. M. Kelley, 1968). See discussion in Bourgin, Great Challenge, chaps. 8–9; McCraw, Thomas K., The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and other Immigrants Fostered a New Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Most industrializing societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries relied on an active state to promote economic growth, in contrast to the “libertarian” orthodoxy of many global economic institutions today. See Chang, Ha-Joon, Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (London: Anthem, 2002)Google Scholar; Rodrik, Dani, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy (New York: Norton 2011)Google Scholar.

42. TJ to Albert Gallatin, Oct. 13, 1802, TJF 9: 398–99. See also TJ to Thomas Digges, June 19, 1788, TJP 13: 260–61. For a discussion of Jeffersonian Republicans and internal improvements, in addition to Larson, Internal Improvement, see Larson, “Jefferson's Union and the Problem of Internal Improvement,” in Jeffersonian Legacies, ed. Onuf, Peter S. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993), 340–69Google Scholar, esp. 359–64; Bourgin, Great Challenge, chap. 8; Ellis, Richard E., “The Political Economy of Thomas Jefferson,” in Thomas Jefferson: The Man, His World, His Influence, ed. Weymouth, Lally (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1973), 8195Google Scholar; Appleby, Joyce O., “The ‘Agrarian Myth’ in the Early Republic,” in Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 253–76Google Scholar; Harrison, Joseph H. Jr., “Sic et Non: Thomas Jefferson and Internal Improvement,” Journal of the Early Republic 7 (Winter 1987): 335–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Onuf and Sadosky, Jeffersonian America, 131–70; and, most recently, Balogh, Government Out of Sight, 112–50.

43. TJ to Albert Gallatin, May 29, 1805, TJF 10: 146–47. See also TJ to Gallatin, Aug. 31, 1806, TJF 10: 284–86.

44. Jefferson, “Sixth Annual Message,” Dec. 2, 1806, TJW: 524–31, at 529–30.

45. Jefferson, “Eighth Annual Message,” Nov. 8, 1808, TJW: 543–49, at 549.

46. TJ to Joel Barlow, Dec. 10, 1807, TJF 10: 529–30.

47. TJ to Dupont de Nemours, Apr. 15, 1811, TJF 11: 196–206, quoted at 203–4. See also TJ to Baron F. H. Alexander von Humboldt, Mont. June 13, 1817, TJF 12: 68–70. The reference to “the rich alone” is a reminder that the federal government's main source of revenue was taxing imported luxuries—a consumption tax on the rich.

48. See Onuf, Jefferson's Empire, for Jefferson's evolving ideas about federalism. See Harrison, “Sic et Non” for a discussion of Jefferson's changing attitude in his later years.

49. TJ to George Ticknor, May 1817, TJF 12: 58–59. See also TJ to Albert Gallatin, Mont. June 16, 1817, TJF 12: 70–74.

50. See TJ to Robert J. Garnett, Feb. 14, 1824, TJF 12: 341–43; TJ to Edward Livingston, Apr 4, 1824, TJF 12: 348–51; TJ to James Madison, Dec. 24, 1825, TJF 12: 416–18; TJ to William B. Giles, Dec. 26, 1825, TJF 12: 424-; TJ to William F. Gordon, Jan. 1, 1826, TJF 12: 429–31; TJ to James Madison, Jan. 2, 1826, TJF 12: 431–32.

51. See Wagoner, Jennings L., Jr., Jefferson and Education (Charlottesville, VA: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2004), esp. 31–43Google Scholar; Wagoner, Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a New Nation (Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1976), 2139Google Scholar; Addis, Cameron, Jefferson's Vision for Education, 1760–1845 (New York: Peter Lang, 2003)Google Scholar; Merrill D. Peterson, Jefferson and the New Nation, 145–52; Mayer, Constitutional Thought, 314–19.

52. My discussion draws from Neem, Johann N., “‘To diffuse knowledge more generally through the mass of the people': Thomas Jefferson on Individual Freedom and the Distribution of Knowledge,” in Light and Liberty: Thomas Jefferson and the Power of Knowledge, ed. McDonald, Robert M. S. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012), 4774Google Scholar; Sheldon, Political Philosophy.

53. It is important to note that Jefferson's portrayal of the New England clergy was not accurate and that, in fact, the clergy did much to contribute to the development of citizens' moral, intellectual, and civic capabilities. For education in particular, see Howe, Daniel Walker, “Church, State, and Education in the Young American Republic,” Journal of the Early Republic 22 (Spring 2002): 122CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

54. TJ, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, TJW: 271–72.

55. Brown, Richard D., The Strength of a People: The Idea of an Informed Citizenry in America, 1650–1870 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 47Google Scholar.

56. TJ, Notes, Query 14, TJW: 274. Jefferson's education program, therefore, might be seen as seeking to overcome generations of inherited assumptions about one's role in society—to teach people to think of themselves as free persons capable of making their way in the world. In this sense, Jefferson's educational program may be said to build not only intellectual and moral capability, but the psychology necessary to think of oneself as a free and equal member of civil society. On this point see Appleby, “Thomas Jefferson and the Psychology of Democracy.”

57. Ibid., 273.

58. TJ to John Tyler, May 26, 1810, TJW: 1225–27. For a discussion of Jefferson's curriculum, see Pangle and Pangle, Learning of Liberty, 114–24; Wagoner, Jennings L. Jr., “'That Knowledge Most Useful to Us': Thomas Jefferson's Conception of Utility in the Education of Republican Citizens,” in Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a Citizen, ed. Gilreath, James (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1999), 115–33Google Scholar.

59. TJ to Peter Carr, Sept. 7, 1814, TJW: 1347–48.

60. TJ, “Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia,” Aug. 4, 1818, TJW: 457–73, at 459.

61. TJ, “Report,” 459.

62. Adams to TJ, Sept. 2, 1813, in The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, 2 vols. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959), 370–72Google Scholar. See also Adams to TJ, Nov. 15, 1813, Ibid., 397–402.

63. TJ to John Adams, Oct. 28, 1813, TJ_JA: 387–92.

64. Ibid.

65. To Jefferson, the freedom of conscience was not just a political right but a religious precept. See Neem, Johann N., “A Republican Reformation: Thomas Jefferson's Civil Religion and the Separation of Church from State,” in A Companion to Thomas Jefferson, ed. Cogliano, Francis D., 91109.Google Scholar

66. TJ, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17, TJW: 283–85.

67. TJ, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, TJW: 273–74.

68. TJ to Jeremiah Moore, Aug. 14, 1800, TJP 32: 102–3.

69. TJ, Notes, Query 14, comments on slavery TJW: 264–70. For a discussion of the trans-Atlantic intellectual context in which Jefferson made his conclusions, see O'Brien, Michael, Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 2 vols. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 1: 215–37Google Scholar. See also Jordan's, Winthrop classic examination, White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550–1812 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 429–81Google Scholar.

70. Oakes, James, “Why Slaves Can't Read: The Political Significance of Jefferson's Racism,” in Thomas Jefferson and the Education of a Citizen, ed. Gilreath, James (Washington, DC: LOC, 1999), 177–92Google Scholar. See also Onuf, Peter S., “'To Declare Them a Free and Independent People': Race, Slavery, and National Identity in Jefferson's Thought,” Journal of the Early Republic 18 (1998): 146CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

71. TJ to Edward Bancroft, Jan 26, 1788, TJP 14:492–94.

72. TJ to Chastellux, June 7, 1785, TJW: 799–802, at 801. See also TJ to Edward Coles, Aug. 25, 1814, TJW: 1343–46.

73. TJ to Benjamin Banneker, Aug. 30, 1791, TJW 982–83.

74. TJ to Condorcet, Aug. 30, 1791, TJP 22: 98–99.

75. On this point, see Watson, Harry, “The Man with the Dirty Black Beard: Race, Class, and Schools in the Antebellum South,” Journal of the Early Republic 32 (Spring 2012): 126CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed; Egerton, Douglas, Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 222–47Google Scholar.

76. TJ to Henri Gregoire, Wash. Feb. 25, 1809, TJW: 1202.

77. TJ to Joel Barlow, Mont., Oct. 8, 1809, TJF 11: 120–24. On this episode, see also Addis, Jefferson's Vision, 12. In an 1814 letter, TJ argues that while blacks' current degraded condition may be due to generations of deprivation, and that one might hope that in time blacks' capabilities will improve, their “amalgamation” with whites now would lead to “a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character can innocently consent.” TJ to Coles, Aug. 25, 1814, TJW: 1343–46.

78. TJ to David Barrow, May 1, 1815, TJF 11: 470–71.

79. TJ to William Short, Jan 18, 1826, TJF 12:434.

80. McCoy, Elusive Republic, 13–47; Sheehan, Bernard W., Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and the American Indian (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973)Google Scholar; Becker, Marvin B., The Emergence of Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century: A Privileged Moment in the History of England, Scotland, and France (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1994)Google Scholar. See also Ferguson, Adam, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), ed. Oz-Salzberger, Fania (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)Google Scholar.

81. TJ to William Ludlow, Sept. 6, 1824, TJW: 1496–97. My understanding of Jefferson's attitudes toward Native Americans relies heavily on Onuf, Jefferson's Empire, 23–52.

82. TJ to Capt. Hendrick, the Delawares, Mohicans, and Munries, Wash. Dec. 21, 1808, Lipscomb 16: 450–54, at 452.

83. Ibid.

84. TJ to the Brothers Miamis, Powtewatamies, and Weeauks, Jan. 7, 1802, Lipscomb 16: 390–91. See also TJ to Brothers Miamis and Delawares, Jan. 8, 1803, Lipscomb 16: 396–400; TJ, Confidential Message on Expedition to the Pacific (to the Senate and HoR), Jan. 18, 1803, TJF 9: 421–34; TJ to Chiefs of the Chickasaw Nation, Minghey, Mataha, and Tishohotana, Mar. 7, 1805, Lipscomb 16: 410–12; TJ to the Wolf and people of the Mandar nation, Dec. 30, 1806, Lipscomb 16: 412–17; TJ to the Chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewatamies, Wyandots, and Senecas of Sandusky, Apr. 22, 1808, Lipscomb 16: 428–32; TJ to Little Turtle, Chief of the Miamis, Dec. 21, 1808, Lipscomb 16: 440–43; TJ to Captain Hendrick, the Delawares, Mohicans, and Munries, Dec. 21, 1808, Lipscomb 16: 450–54. See also TJ to Brothers of the Choctaw Nation, Dec. 17, 1803, Lipscomb 16: 400–05, at 403. See also TJ to the Chiefs of the Shawnee Nation, Feb. 19, 1807, Lipscomb 16: 421–25, esp. 423–24; TJ to the Chiefs of the Upper Cherokees, May 4, 1808, Lipscomb 16: 432–35; TJ to the Deputies of the Cherokee Upper Towns, Jan. 9, 1809, Lipscomb 16: 455–58. For a discussion of the gendered implications of Jefferson's ideas, in addition to Onuf, Jefferson's Empire, 23–52, see Steele, Brian, “Thomas Jefferson's Gender Frontier,” Journal of American History 95 (June 2008): 1742CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

85. For a critical perspective on modernization and development, see Latham, Michael, Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)Google Scholar. For a discussion of how the American political development framework can learn from this critique and move beyond it, see Orren and Skowronek, Search for American Political Development.

86. Steele, Jefferson and American Nationhood.

87. Secretary of State to the President, Apr. 17, 1791, TJP: 144–46; TJ to James Monroe, Apr 17, 1791, TJP 20: 234–36; TJ to Gouverneur Morris, Oct. 15, 1792, TJP 24: 484–85; TJ to David Humphreys, Nov 6, 1792, TJP 24: 587–88.

88. TJ to Henry Knox, Aug. 10, 1791, TJP 22: 27–28; TJ to William Blount, Aug 12, 1791, TJP: 29; TJ to William Blount, June 6, 1792, TJP 24: 35–36; TJ to Alexander Martin, June 6, 1792, TJP 24: 39.

89. TJ to Governor William H. Harrison, Feb. 27, 1803, TJW: 1117–1120.

90. TJ to Benjamin Hawkins, Feb. 18, 1803, TJW: 1113–16.

91. On Jefferson's state activism in relation to Native Americans, see Pasley, Jeffrey, “Midget on Horseback: American Indians and the History of the American State,” Common-place 9 (Oct. 2008)Google Scholar; Balogh, A Government Out of Sight, 151–218, esp. 194–200, 205–11. See also Griffin, Patrick, American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier (New York: Hill & Wang, 2007), 212–71Google Scholar; Katznelson, Ira, “Flexible Capacity: The Military and Early American Statebuilding,” in Shaped by War and Trade: International Influences on American Political Development, ed. Katznelson, Ira and Shefter, Martin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 82110Google Scholar.

92. Steele, “Jefferson's Gender Frontier”; Onuf and Sadosky, Jeffersonian America, 82–102; Lewis, Jan, “'The Blessings of Domestic Society': Thomas Jefferson's Family and the Transformation of American Politics,” in Jeffersonian Legacies, ed. Onuf, Peter S. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993), 109–46Google Scholar.

93. Lewis, “Blessings,” 134.

94. My discussion here is taken from Steele, “Jefferson's Gender Frontier”; Zagarri, Rosemarie, “The Rights of Man and Woman in Post-Revolutionary America,” William and Mary Quarterly 55 (April 1998): 203–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

95. TJ to John Banister, Jr., Oct. 15, 1785, TJW: 839.

96. TJ to Marquis Barbe-Barbois, Dec. 5, 1783, as quoted in Steele, “Jefferson's Gender Frontier,” 27.

97. Kelley, Mary, Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life in America's Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006)Google Scholar; Lewis, Jan, “The Republican Wife: Virtue and Seduction in the Early Republic,” William and Mary Quarterly 44 (Oct. 1987): 689721CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bloch, Ruth H., “The Gendered Meanings of Virtue in Revolutionary America,” in Rethinking the Political: Gender, Resistance, and the State, ed. Laslett, Barbara, Brenner, Johanna, and Arat, Yesim (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 1132Google Scholar; Kerber, Linda, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980)Google Scholar; Cott, Nancy F., The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman's Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977)Google Scholar.

98. TJ, “First Inaugural Address” (Mar. 4, 1801), TJW: 493 See Onuf, Jefferson's Empire; Balogh, Government Out of Sight, 114–17, for a discussion of Jefferson's idea of loyalty and government.

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