American Sphinx The True Character Of Thomas Jefferson Analysis

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Many books have been written about Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, the first secretary of state the third president of the United States of America, but the majority are biographies. In the book American Sphinx: The True Character of Thomas Jefferson, author, Joseph J. Ellis, writes about the character of Thomas Jefferson, by examining his thoughts, actions, and writings in different periods of his life. Ellis starts off the first chapter of his book with what many would call a blemish on one’s character, owning slaves. Throughout Jefferson’s life, he owned give or take 200 slaves. But, between 1784 and 1794, he sold or gifted 161 of his slaves and upon his death, periodically, five members of…show more content…
He saw “each proposed revision [to the Declaration] as another defacement.” Also, during his time as president, it is only documented that he gave two public addresses, his two inaugural addresses. Most people had to read his first inaugural address afterwards because only people in the first few rows could hear it because it was given in an “almost femininely soft tone.” Jefferson is known as one of the most secluded presidents, but his cabinet members saw him three nights a week when he hosted dinner parties for his cabinet members and their families at the presidential mansion during his first term. After he retired and returned to Monticello, Jefferson’s tone noticeably changed according to his guests that visited him at his home; his speech became more animated and rapid. During his time in the public eye, his character was both questioned and assaulted. The first time his character was questioned was when he was the Governor of Virginia. Supposedly, Jefferson fled on horseback when a detachment of General Cornwallis’s troops almost captured him at his home in the early parts of what is now known as the Revolutionary War. His action was seen as a cowardly leading to an investigation of his conduct, but it was eventually dropped. His character was once again assaulted during his presidential campaign and as president because of his religious beliefs, his association with Thomas Paine, and his supposed sexual relationship with a

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