well-organized, well-written, and thoughtful essay of 2 to 4 pages:

Select one of the following to answer in a well-organized, well-written, and thoughtful essay of 2 pages:

Part I.

A. Thomas Jefferson was certainly in many ways a unique and gifted individual. However, he was also a man who was influenced, and quite often limited, in various ways by his background and acculturation – a Virginian, a member of the Virginia landed gentry, a white male, a recipient of a classical education, and affected by the ideas of the 18th century Enlightenment. Discuss how your see those elements of his acculturation as influencing him in his various roles and relationships that we have examined or discussed thus far in The Age of Jefferson.

B. Jefferson’s role as owner of slaves throughout his entire adult life – slaves inherited from his father, slaves acquired through his wife’s inheritance from her father John Wayles, slaves purchased at various times, and slaves born into his ownership – was in his own lifetime and remains even more so today a highly controversial issue involving many complex and troubling elements. Discuss this statement considering and analyzing such matters as his professed sentiments on the subject of slavery, his justifications and rationalizing of his ownership of slaves, his actions as a slave owner, and – if you wish – the Sally Hemings matter.

Part II.

Select one of the following to answer in a well-organized, well-written, and thoughtful essay of 2 pages:

A. Thomas Jefferson wrote Notes on the State of Virginia at least in part to describe the pride he had for Virginia to a foreign audience. Discuss ways in which Jefferson’s work is a tribute to his country in the context of Enlightenment philosophy. How might John Trumbull’s historical painting be analogous to Jefferson’s contribution to literary tradition? In addition, you might cover the significance of using the word “sublime” to describe Natural Bridge and his empirical approach to observing nature as a subject for scientific study.

B. Discuss the significance of Jefferson’s commitment to innovation as seen in the devices that are displayed at Monticello. From his work on a “moldboard” for plowing to his interest in the polygraph, camera obscura and perspective glass, he saw himself as a man of science. Include in your discussion ways in which Jefferson’s promoting of science and innovation for the new nation was crucial to his natural philosophy and his legacy as a founding father of American traditions.

Skills: Research Writing

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