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Documents in Detail: Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to Roger Weightman

December 10, 2018

by Jeremy Gypton

Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson is seen in this undated portrait. The original portrait by Rembrandt Peale hangs in the Blue Room of the White House. (AP Photo)

Thomas Jefferson wrote this letter only weeks before his death in 1826, and in it seeks to explain, in effect, what he meant by some of the key ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Coupled with his 1825 letter to Henry Lee, this piece provides an interesting perspective on those ideas, from their key author. Jefferson not only reflects on American independence, but looks far into the future, when “all,” he believed, would seek political liberty, perhaps even in the American tradition.

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