Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase

By Roger G. Kennedy | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1
1
The two ladies had come into Jefferson's dutiful life after their own unsteadier comings of age, though they had passed through the sobering stage of being Quaker matrons of Philadelphia on their way to becoming charter members of the new establishment of Washington City. The mother of Dolley Payne Todd Madison had kept a genteel boardinghouse after Mr. Payne's bankruptcy and death. He was a person of principle who had been shunned in Virginia for manumitting his slaves and fell into bankruptcy after failing to find ways to earn a city living. His daughter Dolley had herself been widowed before she married James Madison. She was a small, smiling, buxom, courageous woman.

The mother of Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton had also been widowed early. She kept barely above poverty by becoming a schoolmistress. She accompanied the two lively younger women to Monticello, and beside them was Anna Maria's husband, Dr. William Thornton. Thornton was an active opponent of slavery, though the luxuries of his life had come not from medical practice but from his plantations on Tortola, in the British West Indies. He later enjoyed governmental sinecures provided by the Virginians, as well as commissions from them to design city mansions. He had earned his medical degree at Edinburgh and traveled widely in Europe, with many adventures. Indeed, thunder at Monticello and Thornton's role in the Washington City establishment bring to mind the story of this future Commissioner of the United States Patent Office and architect of the Capitol huddling under a skin tent, as a rainstorm swept the Isle of Staffa in the Hebrides, with the young man who a half century later, as James Smithson, established the Smithsonian Institution.

Thornton was one of the first investor-inventors in steamships, won the competition for the design of the Capitol (though President George Washington understood that he was too inexperienced to be entrusted with building it), and took an administrative role in the Capitol construction process, while serving as Patent Office commissioner. Much later, he assisted Jefferson with the designs for the University of Virginia. Thornton was probably—there are no drawings—the author of the

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Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause *
  • Part One - The Land and Mr. Jefferson 1
  • 1 - Choices and Consequences 5
  • 2 - Washington, Jefferson, Three Worthies,and Plantation Migrancy 17
  • 3 - The Way Not Taken 26
  • 4 - Independence 43
  • 5 - Powers of the Earth 60
  • 6 - Jefferson's Opportunities and the Land 73
  • Part Two - The Invisible Empire and the Land 85
  • 7 - Colonial-Imperialism 87
  • 8 - Textile Colonial-Imperialism 97
  • Part Three - Resistance to the Plantation System 115
  • 9 - McGillivray 119
  • 10 - Resisters, Assisters, and Lost Causes 129
  • 11 - The Firm Steps Forward 144
  • 12 - Jeffersonian Strategy and Jeffersonian Agents 152
  • Part Four - Agents of the Master Organism: Assistants to the Plantation System 169
  • 13 - Fulwar Skipwith in Context 173
  • 14 - Destiny by Intention 193
  • 15 - Louisiana and Another Class of Virginians 205
  • 16 - The Virginians of Louisiana Decide the Future of the Land 217
  • Epilogue 235
  • Appendix 245
  • Notes 262
  • Bibliographic Note 307
  • Bibliography 312
  • Index 336
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