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Thomas Jefferson and the Rhetoric of Virtue

Thomas Jefferson and the Rhetoric of Virtue (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Nearly 200 years after his death, Thomas Jefferson continues to fascinate and mystify scholars and the public alike. Recently, it seems that every aspect of his life and career, including a possible relationship with one of his slaves, has been put under the microscope. But Jefferson's interest in rhetoric, or discourse, has always been but a footnote before Jefferson and the Rhetoric of Virtue. In this volume, James L. Golden and Alan L. Golden undertake the first careful study of Jefferson's rhetorical philosophy and practice. They find that not only did Jefferson take a great interest in classical and modern students of rhetoric, but that he developed his own program for its study. They also discover that Jefferson viewed the study of discourse as a vehicle for upholding virtue. Jefferson's commitment to virtue, the authors argue, helps to explain his interest in rhetoric, just as a study of his rhetorical philosophy leads to a deeper understanding of his commitment to virtue. Golden and Golden discuss Jefferson's influences and education in rhetoric, how he came to be interested in the field, and the development of his philosophy on discourse.

Supplemented by extensive primary source material, Thomas Jefferson and the Rhetoric of Virtue gives readers a first-hand account of Jefferson's understanding of virtue as viewed through his studies in rhetoric.

The late James L. Golden was emeritus professor of rhetoric and political communication in the School of Journalism and Communication at Ohio State University. The late Alan L. Golden was associate professor of history at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania.

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