Thomas Jefferson: His Essay In Architecture: Mirror Of The Man

How Monticello reflects Jefferson: His obsessions, his contradictions, his brilliance

He placed his mind, like his house, on a lofty height, whence he might contemplate the whole universe," an admiring French aristocrat wrote of Thomas Jefferson. Today, Monticello is a restored testament to Jefferson's exacting vision. But in 1768 that lofty height outside Charlottesville, Va., was a wildly impractical place for a compulsively practical man to start building a home. After a lifetime of "putting up and pulling down," as he called it, Jefferson completed his personal universe, but he died still enslaving dozens who had built it for him.


Jefferson was captivated by the view from his mountain and...

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