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Thomas Jefferson

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The title of the book that I read is Thomas Jefferson by Norman K. Risjord. This

book was published in 1994.

The biography I read was Thomas Jefferson and it was very enlightening and

informative. The story began in Shadwell, Virginia where Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 and raised until he was approximately 18. Thomas Jefferson's parents were well off, but his father died when Thomas was 14. When Jefferson was 17 years old, he got permission to attend the College of William and Mary. Thomas Jefferson did many things in his long life. Jefferson created the many different reforms. Jefferson spent a lot of his time at his home in Monticello with his wife and kids. Jefferson had books compiled on his notes of his home and its surroundings also. Jefferson was also part of congress and a diplomatic minister to France. Jefferson also compiled many things such as the ordinance of government for the Northwest Territory and the Declaration of Independence. After Thomas Jefferson had accomplished all this and seen so many things he was our president.

There were many people who were significant in Thomas Jefferson's life throughout the book. Here were a few people that were important people to Thomas Jefferson. Dr. William Small, Richard Henry Lee, John and Abigail Adams, Paul Rapin, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, Count Buffon, James Madison, and John Fenno. These were some of the main characters throughout the story. There were also many teachers, authors, family and friends that were characters in the book. Some thought that Sally Hemmings was a main character in the book, but she was only mentioned on three brief occasions.

The focus of this book is to educate the reader or readers on the hardships and adversity of Thomas Jefferson's life. It showed the many accomplishments that Jefferson had throughout his life. Norman K. Risjord described the outcome of the book in a very positive way. It seems almost that Norman K. Risjord admired and looked up to Thomas Jefferson and his life. Portraying the book in a positive way is only way one can describe things such as free, self-governed country, and a unified nation.

I believe that Norman Risjord's intent for having written this book was to "acquaint the general reader with the man and his times." I think that Norman Risjord wanted us to know how Jefferson's genius ideas, many reforms, and accomplishments impacted the people and our nation then and now.

I think the author seems quite a bit sympathetic to Thomas Jefferson. I think it expanded greatly on Thomas Jefferson's great qualities and only briefly stated any bad qualities he may have possessed, such as, speaking in public, Sally Hemmings and his slave ownership. Risjord willingly explains his wonderful writings like the Tea Act Reform (page 22) and the Declaration of Independence. (page 28-32) Even though Norman Risjord may have been somewhat sympathetic to Thomas Jefferson, I feel in no way was Norman Risjord apologetic towards Jefferson. Norman Risjord did and excellent job of stating the true facts about Thomas Jefferson without seeming apologetic or critical at any time. I feel that most of the time the book was a very fair and balanced appraisal of Thomas Jefferson.

During this time period of this book, Jefferson and most all of the other main characters were faced with several hardships. The characters were, in one way or another, an integral part of putting America together. Jefferson was faced with several problems during that time. He and the other characters were faced with uneasiness of no knowing what would have been best for America. They were all experimenting with many new and different ideas of what might form the best America. The Louisiana Purchase is a good example of one of the problems during their time. In the long run this purchase turned out to be a good thing for our country, but at the time James Monroe had no idea how much land he actually obtained for the large sum of money he paid. (page 146-147)

Another difficulty Jefferson faced was obtaining the trust of other people. John Randolph of Roanoke began having negative views of President Jefferson. He did not trust him and thought that Thomas Jefferson used his executive authority



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