Revisiting Thomas Jefferson

Denver Brunsman / George Washington University

The runaway success of the musical Hamilton has not come without damaging the popularity of other historical figures. Next to Aaron Burr, chief among them has been Alexander Hamilton’s ideological rival, Thomas Jefferson. On April 13th, the 278th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth, Professor Denver Brunsman will reconsider America’s third president and author of the Declaration of Independence. When Jefferson was elected president in 1800, it forever changed the political landscape of the United States. Hamilton’s Federalist Party would never win another presidential election, as America increasingly democratized in the Jeffersonian era. And yet, Jefferson’s ratings with historians and the general public are currently at an all-time low. Professor Brunsman will explore this paradox in tracing the history and legacy of what scholars once celebrated as the Jeffersonian Revolution.