Thomas Jefferson, Champion of the People Critical Essays

Clara Ingram Judson


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In her foreword, Judson details her fascination with Monticello and Jefferson and describes how the “urge to bring his philosophy of government, his ideal of freedom, his faith in man, to young Americans became a driving force” until this book was finished. Jefferson’s ideals and beliefs have become a vital part of American heritage, and thus his life should be worthy of emulation by young adults. Jefferson was a complex figure who was influenced by many things: “Hardy frontiersmen brought out a sturdy boldness; from gentlemen in the palace drawing rooms he had learned social graces and the art of conversation. A deep love of nature gave him an eagerness to know sciences; and a joy in reading, fostered by his father, made long hours of study a satisfaction.”

Jefferson is depicted as a planner. When not actively involved in a matter, he was corresponding his ideas to those who were. This aspect of his life is evident when Virginia’s laws were examined. As Judson states, “While other men were fighting for freedom, he was looking beyond victory, hoping to have laws ready so that freedom gained by the war could be turned to good use and made safe.”

Jefferson never found anything that he could not accomplish. According to Judson, his advice to Patsy, his daughter, was that we “can always do what we resolve to do.” For example, he resolved to write the Declaration of Independence, to build his home on a little mountain with a big...

(The entire section is 507 words.)