Idealist of the Enlightenment or power-driven politician? HISTORY presents a portrait of one of America's most enigmatic Founding Fathers in...
JEFFERSON - New special premieres on Tuesday, August 24 at 8pm ET on HISTORY(TM)
New York, July 30, 2010 - He was a slave owner who believed that all men are created equal. He decried politics yet served as Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, and then President. He lived in opulence but died in debt. The life of Thomas Jefferson, marked by brilliance and achievement as well as contradiction and failure, is the subject of a new two-hour special titled, JEFFERSON, premiering Tuesday, August 24 at 8pm ET on HISTORY.
A 16-year-old boy with an insatiable curiosity, Thomas Jefferson left his Virginia frontier home in 1760 to attend college in Williamsburg. Surrounding himself with educators and mentors who espoused the Enlightenment, he was captivated by the idea that reason and knowledge could influence the world for the better.
JEFFERSON explores his political rise at a time of revolutionary fervor. At 32 he was a delegate to the Continental Congress, and drafted the Declaration of Independence. In 1779, he was appointed as Virginia's second Governor - a term seen as a failure. Such ups and downs characterized Jefferson's career as he moved in and out of the public eye for the rest of his life. He ran for President in 1800 against incumbent John Adams (whom he served as Vice President), believing the Federalist Party and the office of the President were becoming too powerful. Yet as President, he overstepped his authority as President in his handling of the Barbary Wars and the Louisiana Purchase.
This special also looks at Thomas Jefferson's life outside politics, including his 37-year romance with his house slave, Sally Hemings, after the death of his young wife. An ardent proponent of agrarian lifestyle, he retired to his Monticello haven several times throughout his career. There he pursued his passions: botany, cartography, astronomy, and especially architecture. Yet even in retirement, Jefferson's work revealed a complex balance between Enlightenment ideals and politics. His last major achievement, the University of Virginia, was an architectural masterpiece and a testament to his love of classical education - yet he insisted that only Republican political beliefs would be taught there.
Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, only a few hours before John Adams, his compatriot in their quest for independence, then great political rival, and later friend and correspondent.
JEFFERSON is produced for HISTORY by Left/Right Productions. Susan Werbe is Executive Producer for HISTORY. Executive Producers for Left/Right are Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman. Frank Koughan and Philip Opere are Producers.
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