The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson by William Howard Adams

The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson

byWilliam Howard Adams

Paperback | January 11, 2000

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In 1784 Thomas Jefferson moved to the sophisticated and exhilarating city of Paris, where he spent the next five years as minister from the new United States of America. These were formative years for France, for the United States, and for Jefferson’s cultural and intellectual development. This engaging book recreates in word and illustration the atmosphere and personalities of prerevolutionary Paris, and it reveals the profound impact they had on one of America’s first transatlantic citizens.

William Howard Adams discusses how the provincial Virginian became a cosmopolitan connoisseur in the rarefied intellectual, political, scientific, and artistic circles of the city. He describes Jefferson’s relationships with such luminaries as Lafayette, Condorcet, Lavoisier, Baron Grimm, La Rochefoucauld, John and Abigail Adams, Gouverneur Morris, and J.-L. David, as well as his involvement with the English painter Maria Cosway. His alleged affair with his slave Sally Hemings is critically examined in the context of all available evidence.

Adams’s principal focus is on Jefferson’s role as the preeminent American envoy in Europe after the departure of Franklin, his participation in the cultural and political life of the city, and his private intrigues to help his friends bring the Bourbon monarchy to heel. Finally, he places the author of the Declaration of Independence in the middle of his second revolution and chronicles the dramatic events leading up to the upheaval of 1788-1789.

The book is richly illustrated with art of the period and with specially commissioned photographs of Parisian sites by Adelaide de Menil.

Details & Specs

Title:The Paris Years of Thomas JeffersonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:January 11, 2000Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300082614

ISBN - 13:9780300082616

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From Our Editors

Curator of the National Galley’s The Eye of Thomas Jefferson exhibition, William Howard Adams presents this highly accessible and captivating account of the years Thomas Jefferson spent in Paris as U.S. ambassador to France. Masterfully recreating the tumultuous society of 1784-1789 pre-Revolutionary France, The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson presents an unparalleled perspective on how the American was influenced by his time there, and its effect on his philosophy back in the United States.