“Forbes provides excellent context for Jefferson’s writing of the Notes, exploring in depth the most controversial passages concerning race and slavery. This, along with careful editing of the text, allows scholars to appreciate and engage with the Notes in new ways.”—Frank Cogliano, University of Edinburgh
Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia has been called the most important book written in America before 1800. In the first edition to be based on both the 1785 first edition and the original manuscript, Robert Pierce Forbes uncovers Jefferson’s extensive revisions, situating the work in the context of transatlantic debates over slavery and shedding new light on Jefferson’s shocking disparagement of African Americans. This comprehensive annotated edition is a rich and valuable study of the work that catapulted the once little-known former governor and diplomat to international fame.
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