The Jeffersonian Perspective

Commentary on Today's Social and Political Issues
Based on the Writings of Thomas Jefferson


Rayner's Life of Jefferson

Life of Jefferson," by B. L. Rayner, is available at a separate site from this one. It is a full-length biography, and presents a dramatic and passionate portrayal of the "Life of Jefferson," with special emphasis on his contributions to the creation of the American republic. The book was first published in 1834, only eight years after Jefferson's death, and is very strong in the republican spirit of the time. It is complete in 39 chapters.

Historians and students of history are invited to submit contributing notes to Rayner's text, either to support or contradict his version of events. A form is provided at the site for submitting comments, which will be posted as notes to the text, with hypertext links therefrom. The URL is:

Rayner's lively and interesting biography emphasizes the role of republican principles in Jefferson's life and thought. It contains many excerpts from Jefferson's writings, as well as anecdotes taken from the writings of those who knew Jefferson. Rayner passionately captures the spirit of Jefferson. His descriptions are dramatic, and one has the sense that "this is the way it really happened," as though, for example, one were standing next to Jefferson as he hears Patrick Henry deliver his impassioned address against the cries of "Treason! Treason!" "I well remember," says Jefferson, "the cry of treason, the pause of Henry at the name of George the Third, and the presence of mind with which he closed his sentence and baffled the vociferated charge."

Why has this book remained so long out of print, almost forgotten, and never cited in the bibliographies of modern biographers of Jefferson? This is a real puzzle.

Cross References

To other essays in The Jeffersonian Perspective

The Jeffersonian Perspective: Top of This Page | Table of Contents | Front Page
Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government: Table of Contents

© 1997 by Eyler Robert Coates, Sr.