Facts, information and articles about Thomas Jefferson, the Third U.S. President

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Third President Of the United States

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Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800
Thomas Jefferson summary: Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States of America. Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia in 1743. He was educated at the College of William and Mary, and he later practiced law while also serving as a magistrate and then a county magistrate. In addition to this, he was also a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1776, while a member in the Continental Congress, Jefferson was chosen to write the Declaration of Independence. He later returned to his home in Virginia, Monticello, followed by a term as governor between 1779 and 1781. In 1784, he returned to politics, serving as a trade commissioner in France. President George Washington named Jefferson as his secretary of state in 1790. Jefferson made an unsuccessful bid for president in 1796 as the Democratic party’s candidate; he became vice president after losing the election to John Adams.

He beat John Adams in the election of 1800, becoming the third president of the United States of America. During his first term, he was responsible for setting up the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, considerably adding to the size of the country. During his second term, his attempts at remaining neutral in the disagreement between Great Britain and France failed. After his second term, Jefferson returned to Monticello, and at 76 years old, he founded the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826 on the date of the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


Articles Featuring Thomas Jefferson From History Net Magazines

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Has the U.S. Federal Government always been expanding?Jon,  Has there ever been a time in the history of the United States when the size, scope and reach of the Federal Government was not on the increase? Sincerely, Mike Caplanis (a fan) ? ? ? Dear Mike, Since American history is as much the story of domestic and later foreign expansion as well […]
To Catch a Traitor: John Champe Pursues Benedict ArnoldTo trap Benedict Arnold, Major John Champe pretended to be a turncoat himself
Touring the Erie CanalThe Erie Canal Historical Corridor offers visitors a wealth of historic sites, beautiful scenery, unique shops and excellent restaurants.
April Civil War Times ReaderAmerica’s Civil War Lincoln’s best strategist From the March 2013 issue On the eve of the Civil War, the U.S. Army’s commanding general, Winfield Scott, was just about used up. Few players on the American scene could stand the old goat when he was in his prime, and now that his advancing age and flab […]
The Big SqueezeUnion Pundits laughed at Winfield Scott’s “Anaconda” plan—until it worked.
Daily Quiz for December 13, 2012This president kept his late wife’s memory alive by hanging her portrait in the private quarters and ordering the staff to place fresh flowers in front of it daily.
‘First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty’ – A Preview'American Experience: First Freedom - The Fight for Religious Liberty,' premiering Dec. 18 on PBS, is an informative, even-handed examination of why America's founders made religious liberty a basic human right.
MHQ Reader Comments, Winter 2013Readers respond to MHQ's Autumn 2012 issue
Is Thomas Jefferson complicit in the death of Alexander Hamilton?Is Thomas Jefferson complicit in the death of Alexander Hamilton?  He was no friend of either Burr or Hamilton, and stood to profit regardless of the outcome of the duel – but seems needed the duel to take place.  Could he have urged Burr on to do the dirty work? Jeff C ? ? ? […]
Table of Contents – October 2012 American HistoryThe October 2012 issue of American History features stories on Thomas Jefferson's real attitudes about slavery, the first U.S. oil boom, the modern architecture of Columbus, Ind., and Harry Truman's crusade to stop corrupt war contractors.
Table of Contents – August 2012 American HistoryThe August 2012 issue of American History features the story of Brigham Young and his "19th wife," Ann Eliza, who divorced the Mormon Prophet and toured the country speaking out against polygamy. Celebrate the bicentennial of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, and travel with John Muir through Alaska's Glacier Bay.
Letters From Readers – August 2012 American HistoryOmnipresent Jefferson The June 2012 “By the Numbers” section stated that Thomas Jefferson favored a single, seven-year term for the president. However, the article “Power Play” (April 2012), about the Constitutional Convention, made no mention of this. Because Jefferson was in France during the convention, it would have been impossible for him to participate in […]
2012 Spur Award: The Alamo, Well RememberedThe 1836 Battle of the Alamo, immortalized by Texans, also remains in the national memory, thanks to Travis’ line in the sand, Crockett’s death and lesser ‘battles’ that ensued there
MHQ Table of Contents, Spring 2012  MHQ Home Page Subscribe to MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History today!     The Spring 2012 issue of MHQ is on newsstands now. You can also visit the HistoryNet store to order your copy today! FEATURES Payback by Alistair Horne Doolittle’s Raiders avenged Pearl Harbor by hitting the Japanese where they least […]
Letters From Readers – April 2012 American HistoryFounding Fakes? Woody Holton’s piece on George Washington’s moral journey (February 2012) is too short to prove his thesis. It provided insight into “Father” George’s early machinations, but little is presented to show that he became a moral person. What I remember most about Washington are the shocking revelations in Marvin Kitman’s 1970 book, George […]
Letters From Readers – December 2011 American HistoryMessin’ With Texas I always enjoy reading articles about my native state of Texas, but I was deeply disappointed by Gregory Curtis’ contention in “Lone Star Nation” (October 2011) that “the geography of the state is relatively uniform.” Mr. Curtis obviously did not take (or did not pay attention in) the required seventh-grade Texas geography […]
Military History – November 2011 – Table of ContentsThe November 2011 issue of Military History features stories about 10 Great POW Escapes, the 1801-05 First Barbary War against Mediterranean piracy, lost images of Kaiser Wilhelm's military forces, Polish-American Patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Pancho Villa's brush with motion picture fame, and Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca's lost opportunity at the gates of Rome.
Interview With Filmmaker Ken BurnsFilmmaker Ken Burns talks about his latest project, a history of Prohibition, which airs on PBS in October 2011.
Table of Contents – October 2011 American HistoryThe October 2011 issue of American History features Thomas Jefferson's Bible, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Will Rogers' Tweets and a short history of U.S. debt.
Letter From American History – October 2011Peter Carlson, The Bible According to Thomas Jefferson, from Editorial
Table of Contents – February 2011 American HistoryClick to subscribe to American History magazine. FEATURES The Confederacy: America’s Worst Idea On the 150th anniversary of secession, can we finally admit the truth about why the South lost the Civil War? by Stephanie McCurry Patrick Henry vs. Big Government The fiery patriot orator also led the battle against the U.S. Constitution by Harlow […]
Irreconcilable DifferencesWinston Groom, author of Vicksburg 1863, explores the reasons the North and South found themselves at war.
Calm Before the Storm: 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, 1861After Virginia's secession in 1861 and the start of the Civil War, General Joseph E. Johnston and his men experienced an idyllic summer in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
Book Review: Washington, by Ron ChernowIn Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow has a candid, honest look at the often-mythologized American commander in chief and first president.
Table of Contents – April 2011 American HistoryThe April 2011 issue of American History magazines features articles on Davy Crockett, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Thomas Jefferson, Ellis Island, Babe Ruth, and Noah Webster.

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Dinosaur Wars in the American WestAmerican Experience - Dinosaur Wars examines the fight over fossils between Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope in the American West.
Hail, Lafayette!The Marquis de Lafayette returned to America, his adopted home, during the contentious 1824 presidential election.
Scientists at Arms: Naturalists in the MilitaryIn an age of biological discovery, a few modern-day warriors furthered science and saved lives
Table of Contents – December 2010 American HistoryThe December 2010 issue of American History magazine features articles on the Confederacy, Patrick Henry, Franklin Roosevelt, Norman Rockwell, Chief Joseph and the Salem Witch House.
The Confederacy: America’s Worst IdeaWhy did the South lose the Civil War? Because it ignored black slaves and white women.
‘Lafayette: The Lost Hero’ Premiers on PBSA new documentary on PBS explores 'Lafayette: The Lost Hero,' reminding Americans of the story of a man who played an important role in their War for Independence and was wildly popular in his day.
Table of Contents – October 2010 American HistoryThe October 2010 issue of American History magazine features articles on Benjamin Franklin, Harry Burn, Susan B. Anthony, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Eadweard Muybridge, and the history of the filibuster.
Civil War MemoryHarold Holzer explores revisionism and Civil War memory
True Causes of the Civil WarIrreconcilable Differences Simmering animosities between North and South signaled an American apocalypse Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Having acknowledged that, let me also say I have long believed there is no more concise or […]
Letters from Readers – August 2010 American HistoryJefferson’s Darkest Hour Our June cover story chronicling Thomas Jefferson’s narrow escape from redcoats while wartime governor of Virginia and his efforts to defend himself against accusations of cowardice leveled by contemporaries struck a raw nerve with some readers. “It was shocking to see one of our most important and revered Founding Fathers downgraded and […]
The Patriot Who Refused to Sign the Declaration of IndependenceJohn Dickinson was America’s most renowned patriot until he refused to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Letter from American History – June 2010Author Michael Kranish explores how the experience of keeping just hours ahead of capture by the British haunted Thomas Jefferson down the decades.
Table of Contents – February 2010 American HistoryThe February 2010 issue of American History magazine features articles on George Washington, Governors Island, Amelia Earhart and Thomas Jefferson.
Table of Contents – December 2009 American HistoryThe December 2009 issue of American History magazine features articles on the discovery of America, Thomas Jefferson and codes, Frank Baum and the Wizard of Oz, Barbie, and Abraham Lincoln.
Letters from Readers – December 2009 American HistoryThe 9 Incredibles Should any judges reign supreme? Chris Vandewinckel of Baltimore, Md., wrote that the Supreme Court dream team we put forward in our October cover story confirmed the fears that Thomas Jefferson expressed in an 1820 letter to journalist Thomas Ritchie: “The judiciary…is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground […]
Missouri Compromise exposed the raw nerve of slaveryMissouri Compromise: Problem arose when Missouri wanted to join the Union with slavery, threatening the balance between free and slave states.
Table of Contents – October 2009 American HistoryThe October 2009 issue of American History features articles on Supreme Court justices, Khrushchev, Abraham Lincoln and religion, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and the end of Pontiac.
Letters from Readers – August 2009 American HistoryAmerican History readers write about the Emancipation Proclamation, separation of church and state, and the Cherokee people.
George Washington Pays Homage to YahwehSimon Schama describes President George Washington’s 1790 visit to Newport, RI, to promote support for the Bill of Rights. His visit provoked an exchange with a member of the Touro Synagogue about the young country’s commitment to religious freedom.
Letters from Readers – June 2009 American HistoryBanking Mess The idea that Thomas Jefferson is to blame for the United States’ his­tory of financial panics is truly absurd (“The Founding Father of American Financial Disaster,” April 2009). It’s been 200 years since Jefferson left office. That’s 200 years for government to apply effective regulation, and 200 years for the banking industry and […]
What Do We Owe the Indians?Paul VanDevelder writes about the troubled history of the 562 Native American nations, their 371 treaties with the United States, and the emerging importance of natural resources found on Native American lands.
Table of Contents – April 2009 American HistoryClick to subscribe to American History magazine.FEATURES The Founding Father of American Financial Disaster Thomas Jefferson gave us life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and financial insecurity by John Steele Gordon What’s a Dollar Really Worth? Watch it shrink datagraphic by Nigel Holmes Lincoln Chronicles, Part 2: There Goes the South President-elect Abraham Lincoln keeps […]
Letter from American HistoryDid Thomas Jefferson's deep distrust of banks wreck our American Dream?
Letters from Readers – April 2009 American HistoryThe Whole Truth I’m curious as to why Bruce Chadwick, in “The Mysterious Death of Judge George Wythe” (February 2009), didn’t mention the widespread rumor that Wythe’s protégé and fellow murder victim, Michael Brown, was his son with his maid and former slave, Lydia Broadnax. Michael Brown was a mulatto, which means that his father […]
Wild West – April 2009 – Table of ContentsAbraham Lincoln, bandit Joaquin Murrieta, outlaw Bill Downing, the ingenious chuck wagon and the incident that inspired the film The Searchers are all featured in the April 2009 issue of Wild West magazine

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The Mysterious Death of Judge George WytheThe murderer of Thomas Jefferson’s mentor, George Wythe, was acquitted because blacks were forbidden to testify against whites in Virginia’s courts.
Table of Contents – February 2009 American HistoryClick to subscribe to American History magazine.FEATURES THE LINCOLN CHRONICLES DANGEROUS AMBITION How a frustrated small-town lawyer jumpstarted his political career by threatening the Union by H.W. Brands THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF JUDGE GEORGE WYTHE Arsenic felled Jefferson’s fellow founder and friend, then justice was thwarted because of laws they wrote by Bruce Chadwick AMERICA […]
Uneasy About Alcohol – America and the Booze QuestionThe Pilgrims drank. So did the Founding Fathers. Prohibition couldn’t curb Americans’ thirst for booze, and years of teetotaling tirades fell on deaf ears. So why did alcohol become the focus of one of this nation’s greatest moral crusades?
Battle Creek, Texas – Where Surveyors Fought Like SoldiersThe 1838 Battle of Battle Creek, Texas, also known as the Surveyors’ Fight, pitted a surveying party comprised of veterans of the Texas Revolution against a Kickapoo war band.
‘Don’t Give Up the Ship’"Don’t Give Up the Ship!" Despite his crew’s humiliating surrender to HMS Shannon, the exhortation of USS Chesapeake’s dying captain, James Lawrence, became a rallying cry of the War of 1812.
The First American Victory: Ethan Allen Takes Fort TiconderogaEthan Allen's capture of Fort Ticonderoga gave American colonists their first victory over British troops in the American War for Independence.
The Battle of ChippewaWinfield Scott's unlikely victory on the Canadian side of the Niagara River during the War of 1812 helped transform the motley U.S. Army into a professional fighting force.
Letter From April 2007 American History MagazineLetter From April 2007 American History Magazine What Would Roger Do? It was a first. When Keith Ellison won the votes of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District last November, he became the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. When Ellison announced his intent to lay his hand upon a Koran in his ceremonial swearing in, […]
The Adams FamilyLong before the Kennedys, another patrician Massachusetts clan, John and Abigail Adams and their descendants, scaled the heights of triumph and plumbed the depths of tragedy in full public view.
The James-Younger Gang and their Circle of FriendsDuring their outlaw careers, the James brothers and the Younger brothers dealt in fine-blooded stock, raced thoroughbreds and rode beautiful American Saddlebreds. All were expert horsemen, always paying careful attention to their animals, which were essential tools of their ‘business.’ Also essential to the West’s most famous outlaw brothers’ success was the support of a […]
Andrew Jackson: Lawyer, Judge and LegislatorLong before his rise to national fame during the War of 1812, young Andrew Jackson, as lawyer, judge and legislator, helped shape the American frontier. He took the skills, attitudes and quirks developed there all the way to the White House.
War of 1812: Corps of Canadian VoyageursThe Corps of Canadian Voyageurs maintained Britain's frontier during the War of 1812.
Benjamin Franklin: America’s InventorBorn 300 years ago, Benjamin Franklin remains perhaps the most inquisitive, creative and prodigious inventor, innovator and thinker ever born on American soil. But which of Franklin's many 'inventions' was actually his most important? A scientist offers a somewhat surprising answer.
USS Constitution: The Legendary SurvivorOften venturing into harm's way, the USS Constitution -- America's most famous sailing ship -- twice came close to oblivion -- once at the hands of a British squadron, and once at the hands of her own navy.
John C. Calhoun: He Started the Civil WarIf one person could be called the instigator of the Civil War, it was John C. Calhoun -- genius pragmatist, and racist.
Benjamin Harrison (Book Review)Reviewed by Michael Oppenheim for American History MagazineBy Charles W. CalhounTimes Books, June 2005 Benjamin Harrison is the answer to a trivia question: Who is the only president (1889-93) whose predecessor and successor was the same man, Grover Cleveland? No biographer feels his subject is deservedly neglected, and historian Charles Calhoun is no exception. He […]
Andrew Jackson: A Life and Times (Book Review)Reviewed by Mike OppenheimBy H.W. BrandsDoubleday, 2005 Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was our most unlikable president: touchy, belligerent, prejudiced, poorly educated. The hatreds of his youth (Britain, banks, the Eastern establishment, Indians) stayed with him until his death. Yet he was unquestionably an energetic, charismatic leader. Unpleasant but charismatic men make for entertaining biographies, and this […]
His Excellency: George Washington (Book Review)Reviewed by Mike OppenheimBy Joseph J. EllisKnopf, 2004 Among our founding fathers, Franklin was the wisest, Hamilton the most brilliant, Jefferson the most intellectual, Adams the greatest scholar and Madison the most sophisticated politician. Yet they all acknowledged Washington as their superior (although it’s not certain they believed this at all times). Explaining his greatness […]
George Washington: His Troubles with SlaveryAfter wending his way through the economic, political and moral quagmire of slavery, in his will -- his final and most symbolic message to the nation -- George Washington presented a blueprint for ending the 'Peculiar Institution.'
Operation Avalanche: U.S. Navy’s 4th Beach Battalion Assault on Salerno During World War IIWithout the presence of the U.S. Navy's 4th Beach Battalion on the fire-swept beaches of Salerno, Operation Avalanche might well have failed.
Picture of the Day: January 11Alexander Hamilton American patriot and statesman Alexander Hamilton, the illegitimate son of a Scottish merchant, was born on St. Croix probably on January 11, 1755. After showing remarkable promise in finance, the young Hamilton was sent by a benefactor to King’s College in New York. In 1776, Hamilton joined the Continental Army, where he soon […]
Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett: First to Fly over the North PoleThe Fokker Trimotor Josephine Ford survived mishaps and beat fierce competition to be the first aircraft to fly over the top of the world, carrying Richard E. Byrd into history.
Kit Carson: The Legendary Frontiersman Remains an American HeroThe small but courageous adventurer made his mark on the frontier as a mountain man, guide, scout, Indian fighter and Indian protector.
Andrew Jackson: Leading the Battle of New OrleansIn January 1815, General Andrew Jackson led a menagerie of American defenders against some of the British Empire's finest soldiers in a battle that would determine the future of America.
Sacagawea: Assisted the Lewis and Clark ExpeditionDetails of her life remain sketchy, and the time and place of her death are still debated, but the young Indian woman who assisted Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their great journey west has a secure place in history.

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Battle of Gettysburg and American MythologyMuch of what Americans believe about Gettysburg is myth, but their flawed knowledge of the battle nevertheless serves to sanctify their national memory of the fight.
War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie: Oliver Perry’s Miraculous VictoryWith Oliver Hazard Perry's flagship dead in the water, the British had apparently won the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. But then the quick-thinking American commander turned the tables and snatched an astounding victory in the bloodiest naval fight of the War of 1812.
Picture of the Day: November 9Benjamin Banneker was born in Maryland on November 9, 1731, and grew up a free black man. From his farm near Baltimore, Banneker spent much of his time studying the stars. Although he lacked much of a formal education, he taught himself with borrowed books and became a noted mathematician, astronomer and inventor. Carving its […]
The Corps of Discovery: After the ExpeditionIts mission over, the Corps of Discovery disbanded and its members sought their own destinies. Some of them passed from the historical record, but others had adventures that made their experiences with Lewis and Clark seem almost tame by comparison.
William W. Brown: Abolitionist and HistorianAfter his 1834 escape to freedom, fugitive slave William Wells Brown used his literary talents for the abolitionist cause and to record the history of America's blacks.
Many African Americans Were Dedicated Patriots During the American Revolutionary WarDuring the American Revolution some of the most ardent Patriots could be found among the colonies' African-Americans.
American History: Passage of the Alien and Sedition ActsWhen Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, it opened a heated debate about the limits of freedom in a free society.
American History: The First Real Two-Party U.S. Presidential Election in 1796When George Washington announced that he would retire from office, he set the stage for the nation's first two-party presidential campaign.
Operation Torch: Allied Invasion of North AfricaThe Allied invasion of North Africa was a necessary first step on the road to victory in Europe.
Battle of Monroe’s Cross RoadsUnion General William Sherman considered Judson Kilpatrick, his cavalry chief, 'a hell of a damn fool.' At Monroe's Cross Roads, N.C., his carelessness and disobedience of orders proved Sherman's point.
George Washington: Patriot, President, Planter and Purveyor of Distilled SpiritsAs part of his lifelong effort to make Mount Vernon as efficient, diversified and profitable as possible, George Washington became one of the nation's premier distillers.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Douglas MacArthur’s Aide in the 1930sFor seven long years during the 1930s, Dwight D. Eisenhower slaved away as Douglas MacArthur's aide, enduring humiliation and even betrayal at the hands of his imperious boss. Though their tempestuous relationship often boiled over into shouting matches, it nevertheless proved mutually beneficial.
Picture of the Day: July 4Declaration of Independence More than a year after the first fighting of the American Revolution broke out in Lexington and Concord, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, officially breaking America’s legal ties with England. Authored largely by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, the Declaration of Independence remains one of the most stirring […]
Book Review: Agent of Destiney: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott (John S.D. Eisenhower) : CWTAgent of Destiney: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott, by John S.D. Eisenhower, Free Press, New York, New York, 464 pages, $27.50. There is an underground opinion unknown to the general public but held by many military historians: the greatest American battlefield general of all time is not Washington, Lee, Grant, or Jackson, […]
Book Review: Best Little Stories From the American Revolution (by C. Brian Kelly) : MHBest Little Stories From the American Revolution, by C. Brian Kelly, with Ingrid Smyer, Cumberland House, Nashville, Tenn., 1999, $14.95.C. Brian Kelly, editor emeritus of Military History, has done it again. Following his Best Little Stories series of books on World War II, the Civil War and the White House, he brings the American Revolution […]
Book Review: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Stephen E. Ambrose) : WWUndaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West, by Stephen E.Ambrose, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996, $27.50. No disrespect to William Clark (a good man who needs a good biography of his own), but Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809),that Virginia tidewater gentleman and lifelong friend of Thomas Jefferson’s, was the brain […]
Book Review: Wyoming’s Territorial Sheriffs (by Ann Gorzalka) : WWWyoming’s Territorial Sheriffs, by Ann Gorzalka, High Plains Press, Glendo, Wyo., 1998, $14.95.Wyoming became a territory on July 25, 1868, and a state on July 10, 1890. During the territorial years, it had 55 sheriffs, beginning with Seth M. Preshaw, who was appointed interim sheriff of Laramie County in May 1869. When Preshaw ran for […]
Book Review: Raising Holy Hell (Bruce Olds) : ACWRaising Holy Hell, by Bruce Olds, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1995, $22.50. The story of John Brown is disturbing in a democracy. We comfort ourselves with the belief that, despite our differences, weare a humane and sensitive society that makes the need for violent actions unnecessary or even insane. Bruce Olds jolts ourcomplacency […]
Book Review: Invention in America (Russell Bourne): AHINVENTION IN AMERICAby Russell Bourne (Fulcrum Publishing, 160 pages, $32.95). Complemented by seldom-seen images from the Library of Congress, Bourne’s work spotlights the wide range of inventions that changed America from an agricultural society to an industrialized one during the years 1790-1920. Highlighted are Eli Whitney’s (1765-1825) cotton gin; Samuel Colt’s (1814-62) revolver; Elias Howe’s […]
Book Review: THE PEALE FAMILY: CREATION OF A LEGACY, 1770-1870 (Lillian B. Miller) : AHTHE PEALE FAMILY: CREATION OF A LEGACY, 1770-1870 , by Lillian B. Miller, editor (Abbeville Press,320 pages, $75.00). Prepared in connection with a major exhibition of the same name, this lavishly illustrated study examines the lives of the famous Peale family of artists through the works of brothers James (1749-1831) and Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), […]
Book Review: Trial and Triumph: Presidential Power in the Second Term (Alfred J. Zacher): AHTRIAL AND TRIUMPH: PRESIDENTIAL POWER IN THE SECOND TERMby Alfred J. Zacher (Presidential Press, 349 pages, $24.95). The first attempt to study U.S. presidents’ second terms, Zacher’s work examines the political life of 17 of the 18 incumbents that have been re-elected to office; William McKinley (1843-1901) is excluded because he was assassinated just seven […]
Book Review: SETTING THE WORLD ABLAZE: WASHINGTON, ADAMS, AND JEFFERSON AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (by John Ferling) : AHISETTING THE WORLD ABLAZE: WASHINGTON, ADAMS, AND JEFFERSON AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, by John Ferling, Oxford University Press, 372 pages, $27.50.I remember reading, long ago, about an incident involving George Washington and some rather indiscrete advances he made to another man’s wife. It’s not the kind of image that immediately jumps to mind when mention […]
Book Review: Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson (James M. Gabler): AHPASSIONS: THE WINES AND TRAVELS OF THOMAS JEFFERSONby James M. Gabler (Bacchus Press Ltd., 318 pages, $29.95). Author James Gabler utilizes Thomas Jefferson’s diaries and letters, one hundred historical prints, and modern-day photographs and maps to chronicle two of the third U.S. president’s passions in life–traveling and good wine. Gabler recreates Jefferson’s days in Paris […]
Multi-Media Review: The Presidential Memorials: AHTHE PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIALS(Arts & Entertainment Television Networks, $19.95). Part of the History Channel’s Great American Monuments series, this video program presents the colorful history of the tributes built in Washington, D.C., to immortalize three of America’s greatest presidents–George Washington (1732-99), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-65). The film reveals such information as why the […]

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Multi-Media Review: Thomas Jefferson: A View From the Mountain: AHTHOMAS JEFFERSON: A VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN(Lou Reda Productions, Inc., $24.95). The documentary on the life of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), produced for the Public Television Network by its Central Virginia station in 1994 is now available on video. The narrative highlights Jefferson’s youth as a conscientious student who spent 14 to 15 hours a day […]
Letters to American History: April ’00 LettersTHE REAL THOMAS PAINE? In his article on Thomas Paine ("Revolution with Pen & Ink," February 2000), William Kashatus is to be lauded for shedding some light on the enormous role Thomas Paine played in the American Revolution–a role shamefully ignored in this country. The author is quite correct in depicting a man dedicated to […]
William W. Brown – Cover Page: December ’99 American History FeatureWilliam W. Brown After his 1834 escape to freedom, fugitive slave William Wells Brown used his literary talents for the abolitionist cause and to record the history of America’s blacks. By Marsh Cassady At just after 8 p.m. on February 2, 1857, an air of expectancy gripped the crowd assembled in the town hall in […]
American History: April 1999 From the EditorThoughts on History Sometimes it seems that the thing politicians do best is create scandal. As I write this just after New Year’s Day, a president of the United States has been impeached by the House of Representatives for only the second time in the country’s history, and the Senate is preparing for a trial. What […]
Letters to American History: June ’99LOSS AT OKINAWA I’ve often heard the Destroyer Squadron II accident ("The Point of No Return," June 1999) billed as the U.S. Navy’s worst peacetime disaster, yet as bad as it was, it was small potatoes compared to the navy’s losses on October 9, 1945, at Okinawa. On that day, a typhoon swept through the […]
American History: December 1999 From the EditorThoughts on HistoryIn our last issue we looked at an episode from George Washington’s Revolutionary War days. This time author John Ferling examines the general’s final years. Though less exciting than his military service, Washington’s period of retirement offers its own small fascinations. Reading about Washington’s daily routine is something like seeing a marble statue […]
Eyewitness to War: Hinton Rowan Helper incurred the wrath of his fellow Southerners by writing a strident anti-slavery treatise – January ’98 America’s Civil War FeatureSouthern-born Hinton Helper–not Harriet Beecher Stowe–wrote the most stinging indictment of slavery. By Joseph Gustaitis The myth probably began with Abraham Lincoln. When he met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in 1862, Lincoln supposedly said, “So you are the little lady who wrote the book that started this great war.” Ever since […]
Order vs. Liberty: October ’98 American History FeatureWhen Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, it opened a heated debate about the limits of freedom in a free society. By Larry Gragg On July 4, 1798, the citizens of the capital city of Philadelphia turned out in large numbers to celebrate the nation’s independence day. While militia companies marched through […]
first thunder at SHILOH – Cover Page: March 1997 Civil War Times Featurefirst thunder at SHILOH A REBEL BATTERY’S FIRST SALVO WAS THE PRELUDE TO A STORM THE UNTESTED CANNONEERS COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED JON G. STEPHENSON A Confederate artillery captain peered through his field glasses, calmly studying the distant tree line. It was a lovely day. A breeze ruffled the budding branches of the oaks that […]
The Black Bean Lottery: October ’97 American History FeatureIn March 1843, 176 members of an unauthorized army of Texans captured in Mexico drew beans from a jar to determine which 17 among them would die for their alleged crimes. By Peter F. Stevens As war raged across the rugged Mexican countryside during the summer of 1847, Major Walter Lane led a detachment of […]
American History: April 1997 From the EditorThoughts on HistoryAs we were preparing this issue of American History, which includes on page 16 an article by Mark Dunkelman about Amos Humiston, a Union soldier who died during the Battle of Gettysburg, leaving a wife and three small children behind, we received a letter from a reader named Anna Pansini, which struck a […]
Travelers to Wartime Richmond – Sept. ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureTravelers to wartime Richmond had a wide choiceof luxurious hotels, inns and taverns. By John K. Trammell The outbreak of the Civil War ushered in an era of radical change in Virginia. Starting with fanatical John Brown’s failed revolution at Harpers Ferry, and ending with a devastating defeat and painful reconstruction six years later, citizens […]
Kill Cavalry’s Nasty Surprise – Nov. ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureKill Cavalry’s NASTY SURPRISE Union General William Sherman considered Judson Kilpatrick, his cavalry chief, ‘a hell of a damn fool.’ At Monroe’s Cross Roads, N.C., his carelessness and disobedience of orders proved Sherman’s point. By William Preston Mangum II Major General William Tecumseh Sherman had made a swift and steady advance through Georgia and South […]
1796: The First Real Election – Cover Page: December ’96 American History Feature1796: The First Real Election BY JOHN FERLING WHEN GEORGE WASHINGTON ANNOUNCED THAT HE WOULD RETIRE FROM OFFICE, HE SET THE STAGEFOR THE NATION’S FIRST TWO-PARTY PRESIDENTIALCAMPAIGN. On the day in April 1789 that he took the oath of office at Federal Hall in New York City as the first president of the United States, […]