Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 60.96 cm (24 in) x 50.8 cm (20 in). Private collection.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, Physick House, Philadelphia, PA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 26 3/4 in. x 21 7/8 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 22 3/8 x 30 3/8 in. (56.8 x 77.1 cm). Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Penn Medicine, Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia, PA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 12 ft 2-1/2 in. x 17 ft. 3 in. (3.7 x 5.3 m). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 17 1/8 x 14 in. (43.5 x 35.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Gouache and pencil on paper, laid down on paper; 24.13 cm (9.5 in.) x 15.88 cm (6.25 in). Private collection.

[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.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)