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All But Forgotten

Thomas Jefferson and the Development of Public Administration

Stephanie P. Newbold

Publication Year: 2010

Study of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy in public administration. Thomas Jefferson’s contributions to the development of administrative thought and practice in the United States have largely been overlooked in American history. His career in public service and his ideas concerning government and constitutional tradition have overshadowed his involvement with public administration. All But Forgotten explores this hidden contribution by investigating Jefferson’s two terms as president and the educational history of the University of Virginia, an institution whose early years were influenced by Jefferson’s theory and practice of administration. Throughout his later years, Jefferson developed a more comprehensive awareness of the effects of the political process on the administration of government, the theoretical and practical value of preserving constitutional tradition, and the constant need to connect contemporary public policy with the types of republican principles found in the Constitution. The end of Jefferson’s career is as important to the historical advancement of administrative theory and practice as the beginning is to political theory and democratic thought.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. iii-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

A WISE MAN ONCE TOLD ME that the best part of being in public administration scholarship is the daily opportunity to embrace new ideas, to question what we do not know, and to champion what we believe fundamentally essential to the intellectual integrity of the field. Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to the development of administrative thought is a rare, noteworthy example of what we can reveal when we take thorough explorations into history. The purpose of this book is to place Jefferson in the correct historical context regarding his role in preserving American constitutional tradition...

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pp. xiii-xvi

SCHOLARS OF AMERICAN public administration have largely forgotten Thomas Jefferson’s contribution to the development of administrative thought and practice. Jefferson’s authorship of the Declaration of American Independence; his commitment to religious freedom; his support for universal education at all levels of instruction; his establishment of the University of Virginia; and his public service as Foreign...

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1. THE REVOLUTIONARY THINKER: Developing a Brief Contextual Understanding for Jefferson’s Perspectives on Administrationand Constitutional Theory during the Early Stages of His Political Career

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pp. 1-8

THOMAS JEFFERSON’S CONTRIBUTION to the development of American public administration does not begin in the early stages of his political career when he was writing some of his most important works, including the Declaration of American Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Scholars of the Founding Period often consider the Virginia Statute as one of Jefferson’s great contributions to the development of republican thought.1...

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2. THE PRESIDENCY: How Eight Years in Washington Changed Jefferson’s Constitutional and Administrative Thinking

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pp. 9-52

Half a century later, Donald Kettl (2002) built on White’s argument and maintained that Jefferson had a “speculative rather than administrative mind.” He correctly pointed out that as president, Jefferson exhibited important Hamiltonian qualities associated with a strong executive. Kettl’s conclusion, however, was very much in keeping with White’s understanding of Jefferson’s limited attention to administrative matters: “His ideas have made a lasting case for limiting government power, for keeping governmental power more in the hands of the legislature ...

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3. REVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES ON STATE-SPONSORED EDUCATION: Jefferson’s Lasting Intellectual and Institutional Contribution to the Development of Public Administration in the United States

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pp. 53-96

AT THE END OF HIS SECOND TERM as president in 1809, Jefferson eagerly awaited retirement from public office. According to Carter, “Mr. Jefferson, at his retirement, was sixty-six years of age. His intellectual faculties were unimpaired, his bodily strength was well preserved, and he was still conscious of the possession of a large capacity for usefulness to his countrymen and to mankind” (1898, 8). The amount of attention the nation’s third president devoted to the daily operations of governing the state not only left him exhausted but also diverted his attention away...

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4. THOMAS JEFFERSON: An Administrative Creator and Conservator of American Constitutional Tradition

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pp. 97-106

THOMAS JEFFERSON’S ROLE in establishing the University of Virginia places him within the intellectual, institutional, and historical confines of American public administration scholarship and practice. After serving the nation for two terms as president, Jefferson’s ability to understand and appreciate matters affecting the policy process, public-sector management, and the role of the president in directing the vast political and administrative responsibilities...


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pp. 107-120


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pp. 121-126


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pp. 127-131

E-ISBN-13: 9781438430744
E-ISBN-10: 1438430744
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438430737
Print-ISBN-10: 1438430736

Page Count: 147
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 615600395
MUSE Marc Record: Download for All But Forgotten

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Subject Headings

  • Jefferson, Thomas, -- 1743-1826 -- Influence.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
  • Public administration -- United States -- History.
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