Contents

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p. ix

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Acknowledgements

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p. xi

So slender a volume ought not to suggest paucity of support. Indeed, it could not have been written without the contributions, some silent, of the many scholars with whom it has been my great fortune to work through the years. Marty Medhurst first...

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Test of Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address

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pp. xiii-xvii

Friends and fellow-citizens, Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-11

Late in the morning of March 4, 1801, the tall, fair, and conspicuously informal Virginian walked several hundred yards from his lodgings to mount the steps of the unfinished Capitol. Accompanied by a small but impressive parade of militia officers, Thomas...

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Chapter 1. “Brethren of the Same Principle”: The First Inaugural Address and the Language of Party

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pp. 12-49

John Quincy Adams was not, by any measure, an impressionable man. But after seven years abroad, he could not upon his return to American shores but feel pleasantly surprised at the prospect before him. “The appearance of our country,” he wrote Rufus King in October...

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Chapter 2. “The Strongest Government on Earth”: The First Inaugural Address as Political Theory

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pp. 50-87

America was founded, like no other republic, upon ideas. The revolution that ushered it into existence was promoted, sustained, and justified through appeals to commonly held values; the Constitution had enshrined a government of laws, not men; and the new...

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Chapter 3. “The Circle of Our Felicities”: Rhetorical Dimensions of the First Inaugural Address

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pp. 88-130

Thomas Jefferson was at length elected president of the United States of America on February 17, 1801. That left, even for his rapid pen, precious little time to compose what was to become, in Fawn Brodie’s words, “one of the great seminal papers in American political history.” Public anticipation of the inaugural day...

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Epilogue

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pp. 131-134

Thomas Jefferson professed to be above party; claimed no exalted status as a political theorist; declined the orator’s laurel. I have attempted in these chapters to suggest that in fact Jefferson was not above party, that he was a political thinker of genuine stature, and that...

Notes

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pp. 135-143

Bibliography

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pp. 144-152

Index

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pp. 153-155