Published March 20, 2022

Historian Andrew O’Shaughnessy, (The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind) discusses his most recent book, a twin biography of Thomas Jefferson in retirement and of the University of Virginia in its earliest years.

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“A great contribution to the literature both on Jefferson and on the University of Virginia. O’Shaughnessy challenges recent scholarship on Jefferson and the history of the university’s founding and explicates Jefferson’s thinking and plans for the university, the commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.” ―Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

“As a living monument to the efficacy of reason and to the pursuit of justice in a fallen world, Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia is an essential American institution. In this landmark and illuminating work, Andrew O’Shaughnessy is a wonderful guide into the world of Jefferson’s thoughts and deeds on the question of education—an undertaking the author of the Declaration of Independence knew to be vital for the creation and the preservation of democracy itself. ” —Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

“In this well-researched and skillfully crafted history of the University of Virginia, O’Shaughnessy explores the origins of Jefferson’s ideals for the university and gives us a fresh and important way of understanding them. Jefferson, a visionary man of the Enlightenment and lover of books, created the library and chose the curriculum for his university. Jefferson the architect designed and supervised the construction of the physical foundations for his Academical Village. Both of these were crucial to the fulfillment of his life-long commitment to an illimitable freedom of the mind.” —Barbara Oberg, Princeton University, author of Women in the American Revolution: Gender, Politics, and the Domestic World


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