Commonwealth Books Blog

Join me in discussing Three Key American Revolutions

I vaguely remember reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s analysis of society in America as a high school student. As I recall it, I learned that a Frenchman touring America in the late-1830s found Americans to be friendly, industrious, and obsessed with making money. When I reread his commentary many years later, I learned something far different: Tocqueville thought America would become what I call a Tyranny of Benevolence.

James Thompson in his interview about the Virginia aristocracy

Virginia’s Aristocracy

An interview with author, James Thompson This interview aired on Cox Cable 20, in November 2014. This edition of Virginia Time Travel featured James Thompson, author of The Birth of Virginia’s Aristocracy.

A painting of George Washington and his "mulatto man" Billy

George Washington and Billy Lee

Lecture : October 31, 2015, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington D.C. Headquarter Facility William Lee, known as Billy Lee, was George Washington’s personal slave from 1767 until Washington’s death in

James Thompson lecturing about Thomas Jefferson in France on C-Span

Thomas Jefferson in France

Banner Lecture at the Virginia Historical Society Richmond, Virginia, September 11, 2014 In this lecture, author James Thompson discusses the people Thomas Jefferson met and the social and intellectual circles he joined during his five