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ERIC Number: EJ856332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Teaching Jefferson
Smith, Mark A.
History Teacher, v42 n3 p329-340 May 2009
Thomas Jefferson has long fascinated Americans. Even though Jefferson biographer Merrill Peterson once termed Jefferson "impenetrable," a host of recent scholars have tried to penetrate the "inner Jefferson" in an attempt to make him "more vital to people." Trying to understand Jefferson, one could argue, is akin to trying to understand America, for as James Parton wrote, "if Jefferson was wrong, America is wrong. If America is right, Jefferson was right." The role for teachers--to unravel Jefferson for emerging historians--can be a daunting task. By allowing Jefferson to speak for himself, and setting Jefferson's words in the context of the time, teachers force students to examine the period from 1763-1820 as a whole, as Jefferson did. With a solid grounding in Jeffersonian documents, students have a tremendous advantage as they study the rest of American history. In this article, the author shares how he taught Jefferson to his students. (Contains 47 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A