In this compact and engaging book, Peter S. Onuf and Leonard J. Sadosky analyze Thomas Jefferson's conception of American nationhood in light of the political and social demands facing the post-Revolutionary Republic in its formative years. Onuf and Sadosky's fresh approach to the history and historiography of this crucial period underscores the challenges of preserving American independence and securing a fragile union in a dangerous world. In clear terms, the volume lays out the conflict between Jeffersonian Republicans and their Federalist opponents who were accused of war-mongering, and exposes the irony of one of Jefferson's friends, President James Madison, leading the United States into the War of 1812, America's second war for independence. Jeffersonian America helps students, scholars, and general readers understand some of the fundamental tensions and paradoxes that have shaped the subsequent course of American history.
Jeffersonian America represents political history at its very best. It is no mere catalog of elections and partisan struggles but a history that explains the underlying structure of politics and uses that explanation to illuminate the history of the period." Jan Lewis, Rutgers University at Newark.
"In this well crafted and knowledgeable book, Onuf and Sadosky offer us a splendid lens through which to view Jefferson and the early republic. We thereby gain a greater insight into the origins of American political culture." Paul A. Gilje, University of Oklahoma.
"Onuf and Sadowski ... examine family structure and the structure of local government, political economy and race, and federalism and diplomacy, providing a deft analysis of Jefferson's conception of nationhood during the country's formative years." Choice
"The book's ideological, synthetic and integrative approach emphasizes the themes of contingency and even anxiety in the life of the new nation, which the authors would contend was elided by previous generations of historiographical simplification and overspeculation. Indeed this volume significantly clarifies our understanding of the persistent orientation of the young United States towards the western frontier and the Atlantic world." Johnathan o'Neill, University of London