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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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4. Spirit of Nationalism   

4. Spirit of Nationalism

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Thomas Jefferson - Selected Archive Items

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[1196] Pendleton's Lithography, Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States (c. 1828),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-117117].
When the founding fathers affirmed their commitment to the inalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in 1776, they opted not to struggle with the troubling question of how slavery fit into this ideal. This engraving is from an original painting by Gilbert Stuart.

[1309] Anonymous, Photo of Monticello (1943),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USW361-758].
Thomas Jefferson constructed underground passageways so that visitors to Monticello would not see slaves at work--others placed slave quarters in prominent locations as a display of their wealth and power.

[1401] Thomas Jefferson, Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Eli Whitney, Nov. 16, 1793 (1793),
courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Eli Whitney, a northerner, conceived of his invention, the cotton gin, as one that would help end slavery by taking over much of the work done by slaves. In effect, however, the cotton gin helped ensure the continuation of slavery by making the cotton industry much more lucrative.

[1646] Anonymous, The Providential Detection (c. 1800),
courtesy of Library Company of Philadelphia.
Because Thomas Jefferson's beliefs were in accord with the religion and politics of the French Revolution, many Federalists believed him incapable of leadership as illustrated in this cartoon: the eye of God commanding the American Eagle to snatch away the Constitution of the United States.

[3679] Anonymous, Daguerreotype photograph of Isaac Jefferson (1847),
courtesy of Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.
Although he spoke out against the institution of slavery, Jefferson ran a large plantation through slave labor; recent DNA tests have provided conclusive evidence that Jefferson fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings.

[7781] Anonymous, University of Virginia (n.d.),
courtesy of the National Park Service.
Although Monticello is justly celebrated as an expression of Thomas Jefferson's aesthetic values, his true masterpiece is the design for the University of Virginia. Conceived of as an "academica village," the central campus of the university is composed of five neoclassical pavilions that housed five different branches of learning.

[9044] A. C. Brechin & Son, Rotunda and Lawn, University of Virginia (1911),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-124456].
This early-twentieth-century shot shows the rotunda and lawn at the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson designed the university.

[9045] Anonymous, University of Virginia, Pavilion VI (after 1933),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [HABS, VA,2-CHAR,1-O-].
This map shows the University of Virginia, Pavilion VI, East Lawn. A closeup can be seen at [9046] .

[9047] Haines Photo Company, Natural Bridge, VA (1909),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-110212].
Sometimes dubbed one of the "Seven Wonders of the Natural World," Natural Bridge in Virginia has long attracted visitors. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson called it "the most sublime of Nature's works."

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