HIST231 - JOHN ADAMS AND THOMAS JEFFERSON

Description: 
When Americans learned that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, they interpreted the coincidence as signaling the end of an era. In this course, Adams and Jefferson will serve as windows onto the broader world of the American founding. In many instances, their actions directly influenced the course of events. At all times, however, they served as insightful and opinionated commentators who sought to make sense of developments in the United States and abroad. In class discussions, we will proceed chronologically to consider some of the major issues that Adams and Jefferson confronted in their public careers and private lives: the American Revolution; the creation of the American republic; the evolution of national politics; the role of the press in a free society; the expansion of the United States and the threats to its continued existence. Our exploration will be greatly enriched by the different backgrounds and viewpoints of our two figures. Adams, a lawyer and farmer from Massachusetts, disagreed with Jefferson, a slaveowning planter from central Virginia, about many issues. By reading selections from their correspondence and other writings, we will gain a fascinating, multi-dimensional view of the era. Students will research and write a paper on any topic discussed by Adams and Jefferson and will be free to extend their investigation into any sources that help illuminate the aspects of early America that they find most interesting.
Instructors: 

HRDLICKA, JAMES

Day and Time: 
W 0330PM-0630PM
Room: 

WILLIAMS HALL 303

Activity: 
SEM
Cross Listings: