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

As part of its response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Humanities Center encourages us all to recognize the ways the humanities can provide comfort, meaning, and a sense of connection in the midst of loss and upheaval. This extraordinary pop-up book club series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work. In addition to learning about the featured book directly from the author, participants in these sessions will explore important and timeless questions about the human experience in all its complexities—from how we face personal tragedy to the ways we think about the afterlife, how we assign guilt or define greatness.

This engaging series is offered free of charge via Facebook Live.

Annette Gordon-Reed (Center Trustee), Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, Harvard Law School, and Professor of History, Harvard University, and Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
How could one of America’s greatest champions of liberty be blind to the crime of slavery in his very midst?

Primarily set at Monticello, where Jefferson not only developed his Enlightenment values but oversaw the workings of a slave plantation, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” looks to shed light on perhaps the most complex of America’s Founding Fathers. Two of the world’s leading scholars of Jefferson’s life and accomplishments, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, join forces to fundamentally challenge much of what we think we know and help create a portrait of Jefferson that reveals some of the mystery at the heart of his character by considering his extraordinary and capacious mind and the ways in which he both embodied and resisted the dynamics of his age.











When: Wed., May 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm

As part of its response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Humanities Center encourages us all to recognize the ways the humanities can provide comfort, meaning, and a sense of connection in the midst of loss and upheaval. This extraordinary pop-up book club series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work. In addition to learning about the featured book directly from the author, participants in these sessions will explore important and timeless questions about the human experience in all its complexities—from how we face personal tragedy to the ways we think about the afterlife, how we assign guilt or define greatness.

This engaging series is offered free of charge via Facebook Live.

Annette Gordon-Reed (Center Trustee), Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, Harvard Law School, and Professor of History, Harvard University, and Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
How could one of America’s greatest champions of liberty be blind to the crime of slavery in his very midst?

Primarily set at Monticello, where Jefferson not only developed his Enlightenment values but oversaw the workings of a slave plantation, “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs” looks to shed light on perhaps the most complex of America’s Founding Fathers. Two of the world’s leading scholars of Jefferson’s life and accomplishments, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, join forces to fundamentally challenge much of what we think we know and help create a portrait of Jefferson that reveals some of the mystery at the heart of his character by considering his extraordinary and capacious mind and the ways in which he both embodied and resisted the dynamics of his age.

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