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ISU historian Hatzenbuehler to discuss new book on Jefferson Oct. 12

Posted September 26, 2006

Idaho State University history professor Dr. Ron Hatzenbuehler will present "I Tremble for My Country: Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia Gentry" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Salmon River Suite of the ISU Pond Student Union Building in Pocatello.

This lecture is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Hatzenbuehler will discuss his soon-to-be published book on Thomas Jefferson. The book argues that Jefferson, though celebrated as a nationalist, is best understood as a member of the Virginia gentry, who viewed the nation through the lens of his native "country," the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Throughout his life, Jefferson was torn between his participation in a privileged order and his periodic dissent from the order's ways. In taking Virginians to task for their failure to improve Virginia society, he masked his own reluctance to make fundamental changes in his life.

The zenith of Jefferson's criticism came in Notes on the State of Virginia, where he chided his fellow Virginians for failing to take advantage of the opportunities that independence from Great Britain promised – including writing a new state constitution, establishing religious freedom, educating all of the state's youth, farming grains instead of planting tobacco, and abolishing slavery. The height of his withdrawal from the commitment to the change he advocated came after his presidency, when he allowed his gentry culture to ensnare him.

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For more information on Phi Kappa Phi, contact Dr. Ann Hunter, President, ISU Chapter 110 of Phi Kappa Phi, 282-3463, oakeann@isu.edu, or Dr. Joanne Tokle, ISU chapter secretary, 282-2934.