In the perceptions of most, if not all modern day professional historians, Thomas Jefferson no longer deserves the good repute with which the United States and anyone who bothers to learn the history of the country associates the man. Presently, the public continues to visit his much-acclaimed home in Monticello to admire Jefferson’s architectural talent and the innovative machines that testify to his mechanical abilitie...
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...the best he could do with his slaves was to make slavery “almost invisible” in his home (Ellis 223). To that end, Joseph Ellis’ American Sphinx serves a devastating blow to the Jeffersonian legacy and evidently goes against his mentioned desire to prove Thomas Jefferson a “Great Sphinx of American history” (10). If Ellis is right, then Jefferson’s character was indeed wanting as his anti-slavery stand remained indeterminable and concepts of freedom disappeared under political aspirations. If anything, American Sphinx depicts Jefferson’s inability to honor his position on men created equal and whether it was as Ellis argues, because of romanticism or his mind playing tricks on itself, his failure to adhere to his doctrines deems him unworthy. However, he could be not just America’s but the world’s “Everyman” as what he did then is possible even in contemporary times.
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