Program Details

Thomas Jefferson and the Establishment of an Empire of Liberty

Elton Klibanoff
History / Other

Course Description

This program will describe Thomas Jefferson's formidable contributions to American history, with emphasis on his goal of establishing an "Empire of Liberty" as a result of the expansion of the country enabled by his Louisiana Purchase. It will assess Jefferson's political vision as advocate for a "natural right" to freedom and liberty, including freedom of thought and religion, government by the consent of the governed, and the need for universal public education. However, Jefferson is probably the most challenging of the Founders to assess in historical perspective because he was not always true to the noble values he eloquently expressed, deviating from them when he thought it expedient, particularly regarding slavery, African-Americans, and Native Americans. The lecture will also describe Jefferson's personality and character, including the variety of his creative accomplishments, the breadth of his interests, and the nature of his interpersonal relationships, particularly with women, including his slave, Sally Hemings. The program will conclude with an attempt to evaluate Jefferson's relevance to present-day political issues. 

About the Instructor

  • Elton Klibanoff, lawyer and historian, is a graduate of Brown University with Distinction in History and of Harvard Law School. He is the author of For the Survival of Liberty: Great Presidential Decisions, a highly praised book describing key Presidential decisions that have given the United States its character as a nation. With experience in government, law, private industry, and graduate level teaching, Mr. Klibanoff brings a broad and unique perspective to the influence of Presidents on American History and their relevance to 21st century domestic and international challenges.

Upcoming programs presented by Elton Klibanoff.

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