The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson

Richard K. Matthews

Richard Matthews argues that despite scores of books and hundreds of articles, Thomas Jefferson remains the most seriously misrepresented and misunderstood Founding Father. Matthews's Jefferson emerges as America's first and foremost advocate of permanent revolution, a democratic communitarian, and an anti-market theorist. This interpretation has been suggested in the past, but seldom has it been argued so persuasively or so intensely.

It is Matthews's intent to "extricate Jefferson from the myths that surround, envelop, and ultimately distort him." The interpretation of Jefferson's idea of democracy presented here could spark new thinking about contemporary democracy.

“This brilliant book makes a signal contribution to the literature.”

Journal of American History

“A fresh, intelligent, engaging reinterpretation of Jeffersonian politics . . . significant for anyone interested in Jefferson’s thought.”

Journal of Politics
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About the Author

Richard K. Matthews teaches political theory at Lehigh University.