This week, as promised, and in anticipation of Clay’s upcoming cultural tour of Jefferson’s France in October 2019, we devote an entire show to discussion of Jefferson’s time as Minister to France from 1784 to 1789.
Jefferson spent five of the most extraordinary years of his life in France. He fell in love with French people and French culture, but he also got to witness a second great revolution in a single lifetime: the beginnings of the French Revolution. It was one of the most formative times of Mr. Jefferson's life, and he carried what he called the little flame of liberty across the Atlantic in the summer of 1784. Jefferson was thrilled to see that the principles that we had fought for and established in our new system were now being used to change the world — that all of Europe, he thought, was going to follow the path of the United States. It didn't quite work out that way, but that was his optimism.
Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation by Merrill D. Peterson
Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty by John B. Boles
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie
American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis