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Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – January 21, 2005
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Becoming Jefferson's People is a clarion call for those who wish to take back their country. -- John Ferling, author of Adams vs Jefferson and A Leap in the Dark, December 2004
Clay Jenkinson has provided a truly welcome invitation for the American people to return to their best selves. -- Deepak Chopra, author of Books of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life, December 2004
Jenkinson rediscovers the vital and robust Jefferson and restores our trust in boldness, optimism, and self-reliance. -- Landon Y. Jones, auther of William Clark and the Shaping of the West and former editor of "People" Magazine, December 2004
About the Author
Clay Jenkinson is a humanities scholar in residence at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He is also senior fellow for the Center for Digital Government in Sacramento, California. The author of six books, including an edition of the writings of the Lewis and Clark expedition in North Dakota. Clay addresses public audiences throughout the United States about Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, the history and future of American agrarianism, classical literature, and leadership. A scholar of the American presidency, Clay is an expert on the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. He leads cultural tours on the Lewis and Clark trail and to Jefferson's Virginia, as well as to France and Greece. Clay is, also, the voice of Thomas Jefferson on the weekly radio program, The Thomas Jefferson Hour®. His deepest loyalties are to his daughter Catherine Missouri and to North Dakota, which he considers the most Jeffersonian place in America.
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What Jenkinson manages to convey so limpidly in the book is how genuinely Jefferson believed in the ideals that defines a Jeffersonian. Using his encyclopedic knowledge of the great man, the author bases the ideals espoused in each chapter on direct injunctions that Jefferson made in letters, often to people who knew him very well. These, then, were not facile pontifications that Jefferson compiled in a book just to showcase his greatness for posterity, but were actual ideals that came from the bottom of his heart. Ideals that, admittedly, he himself often did not achieve, but wished for others nonetheless.
This book made my hair stand on end. Upon finishing it, I found myself flipping back to the beginning and rereading it immediately. That, perhaps, stands as testament to how deeply it moved me. I can only wish it has the same effect on everyone who aspires to the ideal of America that Jefferson imagines and is far from being achieved.