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

Roger G. Kennedy


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

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

  • Title: Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase
  • Author: Roger G. Kennedy
  • ISBN: 9780195153477
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Hardcover



Thomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers free and independent yeomen And yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system particularly with the Louisiana Purchase squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland Now Roger Kennedy conducts an eye opening examination of that gap between JeffersThomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers free and independent yeomen And yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system particularly with the Louisiana Purchase squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland Now Roger Kennedy conducts an eye opening examination of that gap between Jefferson s stated aspirations and what actually happened Kennedy reveals how the Louisiana Purchase had a major impact on land use and the growth of slavery He examines the great financial interests such as the powerful land companies that speculated in new territories and the British textile interests that beat down slavery s many opponents in the South itself Native Americans, African Americans, Appalachian farmers, and conscientious opponents of slavery He describes how slaveholders cash crops first tobacco, then cotton sickened the soil and how the planters moved from one desolated tract to the next Soon the dominant culture of the entire region from Maryland to Florida, from Carolina to Texas was that of owners and slaves producing staple crops for international markets The earth itself was impoverished, in many places beyond redemption None of this, Kennedy argues, was inevitable He focuses on the character, ideas, and ambitions of Thomas Jefferson to show how he and other Southerners struggled with the moral dilemmas presented by the presence of Indian farmers on land they coveted, by the enslavement of their workforce, by the betrayal of their stated hopes, and by the manifest damage being done to the earth itself Jefferson emerges as a tragic figure in a tragic period.


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

Jefferson is rightly enshrined in the pantheon of American Founding Fathers. His singular gifts of politics and rhetoric still shine brightly down the centuries. Less known is how he turned these talents again and again to the support the interests of his fellow Virginian plantation owners at the expense of the independent farmers, veterans, and even arguably the nation as a whole.Mr. Kennedy methodically and exhaustively lays up evidence before, during, and after the Jefferson administration to [...]

I really enjoyed this book. I felt that Kennedy explained in much detail what Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause was and by the end you can't help but shake your head in sadness at the tragedy of Jefferson's failure.I have always grown up to love and admire Thomas Jefferson but the more I study history and the man that Jefferson truly was, I realize how wrong I was about Thomas Jefferson. The tragedy of his situation is that he reconized that slavery was wrong, knew what he should about it, and yet did [...]

A good read, especially given recent op-ed page and magazine article tussles over JeffersonDon't believe reviewers who rachet this book down on grounds of its being "revisionist history." Sometimes the truth hurts, especially when one of the Founding Fathers is shown to have, at the least, feet of clay.If you are willing to accept heroes with feet of clay, or even see them toppled from pedestals, don't flinch from this book.More than any other early president except Washington, Thomas Jefferson [...]

"Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase by Roger G. Kennedy (2004)"


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