[Thomas Jefferson] was undoubtedly complicated. He mingled the loftiest visions with astute backroom politicking. He spared himself nothing and was a compulsive shopper, yet he extolled the simple yeoman farmer who was free from the lures of the marketplace. He hated obsessive money-making, the proliferating banks, and the liberal capitalistic world that emerged in the Northern states in the early nineteenth century, but no one in American did more to bring that about. Although he kept the most tidy and meticulous accounts of his daily transactions, he never added up his profits and losses. He thought public debts were the curse of a healthy state, yet his private debts kept mounting as he borrowed and borrowed again to meet his rising expenditures. He was a sophisticated man of the world who loved no place better than his remote mountaintop home in Virginia. This slaveholding aristocrat ended up becoming the most important apostle for liberty and democracy in American history.
Quincy, MA — Commemorates the contributions of the Adams family to the new republicIncludes the birthplaces of John and John Quincy Adams as well as the family home, Peacefield.
Philadelphia, PA — Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and John Bartram to promote
Useful Knowledge.Philosophical Hall (1789) is now a museum featuring art, scientific instruments, rare books, original manuscripts, natural history specimens, and curiosities.
Philadelphia, PA — Completed in 1770, this Georgian building was the meeting place of the First Continental Congress in 1774.
Philadelphia, PA — Site of the Second Continental Congress and of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; access is available through a Park Ranger tour.
Washington, DC — Established in 1800, the collection includes a recreation of Jefferson’s library of 6,487 books, which he donated in 1815.
Quincy, MA — The burial place of Presidents John Adams, his son, John Quincy Adams, and their wives — Abigail and Louisa Catherine.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)