Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson. Ken Burns, dir. 1996. DVD.

DVD Cover

Description: Revered as the author of the Declaration of Independence, the most sacred document in American history, yet condemned as a lifelong owner of slaves, Thomas Jefferson remains the enigma that is America. A young Thomas Jefferson from the Virginia wilderness is transformed by the fire of the Enlightenment into his country's most articulate voice for human liberty. Torn between serene family life at Monticello and his passion for politics, Jefferson suffers heartrending personal loss, even as he gives voice to a new era of democratic government. He then journeys to Paris as U.S. Minister to France for George Washington and supports the rising French Revolution. Returning from France, Jefferson strives to preserve the new, fragile American government and helps create the first political party through his bitter struggles with the Federalists. As third President of the United States, he doubles the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase, but faces controversy and scandal, finally retiring to his beloved Monticello. His last years are spent founding the University of Virginia and re-establishing his friendship with John Adams. By the end of his remarkable life, he had advanced the cause of religious, political and intellectual freedom everywhere and had changed the course of human events.

Additional information, background material, director's commentary and activities related to Ken Burn's Thomas Jefferson can be found at pbs.org.

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