“Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

A talk by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf

Annette Gordon-Reed is Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor of history at Harvard University. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which built on her previous book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. Professor Gordon-Reed is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Grant”), along with many other honors.

Peter S. Onuf is the author and editor of numerous Jefferson and early American politics, including The Mind of Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood. He is Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor, Emeritus, at the University of Virginia, and he has also served as the “18th Century Guy” on the  history podcast BackStory.

Together, Gordon-Reed and Onuf are the authors of “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. In the book, they argue that understanding Thomas Jefferson’s private life is crucial to understanding his career as a statesman. Contrary to his reputation in both scholarship and popular imagination, the self-styled “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” was neither a hypocrite nor a sphinx. Jefferson’s sense of himself and his vision of America’s republican future were shaped by his relationships with enslaved people, family members, and friends and visitors in his plantation home at Monticello and in the homes he created for himself in Europe and America.

This event is sponsored by the history department, the political science department, the Dean of the Faculty, and the Office for Institutional Diversity. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 22 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Performing Arts Building, Music Rehearsal Room 320
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

Event Type

Lecture

Audience

Faculty & Staff, Students, Alumni, General Public

Departments

History, Political Science, Institutional Diversity

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