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 years in France (1784-1789). The author reviews the intellectual revolution that began in France in the mid-18th century, its core ideas, and how when Jefferson arrived in the French capital, it was seething with social unrest and sharpening demands for political change. He explains how Jefferson became acquainted with the enlightened French concept of Progress and how he joined a reform movement led by three of France’s most brilliant and influential men. He explains that Jefferson became active in this revolutionary enterprise, that during his involvement in this mission, he transformed from the secretive recluse he was during the American Revolution and became an active advocate for his political visions. This transformation allowed him to wage his “Second American Revolution” against Alexander Hamilton, his federalist programs, and the federalist President who succeeded George Washington in 1797.

You can see the interview here:

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