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Jefferson’s Reputation from the Civil War to the Cold War

Course video 5 of 33

Thomas Jefferson is an American icon. He has also been one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in American history. In this introductory module, we’ll explore how Jefferson’s reputation has changed and evolved over the last two centuries. We’ll discover what Jefferson considered to be his most important contribution to the “Age of Enlightenment” in which he was living. We’ll discuss why some people in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have viewed Jefferson and his ideas with skepticism or worse while others have embraced Jefferson. Overall, learning about how people from many different backgrounds and perspectives have interpreted Jefferson throughout history will help us understand why it’s so important to think critically and honestly about Jefferson’s life and legacy today.

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