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Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826

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The Fraught History of a Founding Father

Filmmaker Ken Burns is the director of "The Civil War" and "Baseball," the hit documentaries on PBS. The former was the network's highest rated series. Burns' newest project is the three-hour documentary, "Thomas Jefferson" about our third president, narrated by Ossie Davis.


Joseph Ellis and the "Jefferson Surge."

Historian Joseph Ellis. He's written a new biography about Thomas Jefferson which aims to debunk many of the myths about the third president: "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson" (Knopf). It won a National Book Award for nonfiction this November. Ellis has also contributed to filmmaker Ken Burns’ documentary “Jefferson” which will air in February. Ellis is a professor of American History at Mount Holyoke College, and has written five other books including “Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams.”


Presidential Sex Scandals Are Nothing New

Historian Joseph Ellis is an expert on Thomas Jefferson and author of "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson" (Knopf). He'll discuss the current situation with President Clinton in light of the behavior and character of past presidents. Ellis is a professor of American History at Mount Holyoke College, and has written five other books including
Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams.


Leaves Of Grass And The Kingdom Of God

Erik Reece grew up the grandson of a fundamentalist preacher, but he left his church in search of a less punitive religion. He describes his struggle with religion in his new book, An American Gospel.


'Master' Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

In Master of the Mountain, historian Henry Wiencek uses an explosive interpretation of evidence to show how, by the 1780s, Founding Father and slave owner Thomas Jefferson had gone from championing equality to rationalizing an abomination.


The Bitter Election of 1800.

Historian Bernard Weissberger. He’s the author of “America Afire,” (William Morrow 2000). The book chronicles the political tumult surrounding the Presidential Election of 1800 between Adams and Jefferson. As in this election, a voting glitch caused confusion. Neither candidate was willing to concede. Weissberger compares the events then, at the birth of the Constitution, to the Gore v. Bush controversy now. He has written more than a dozen books and works on documentaries with Bill Moyers and Ken Burns.

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