The United States has a complicated history when it comes to ideas of empire and imperialism. Since it’s earliest days, the United States has wanted the power that came with being an empire even while declaring its distaste for them.
Therefore, it should not be surprising that the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence, which severed the 13 American colonies’ ties to the most powerful empire in the mid-to-late 18th-century world, also had strong views about empire: Thomas Jefferson wanted the United States to become a great and vast “Empire of Liberty.”
Frank Cogliano, a Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh and author of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson’s Foreign Policy, joins us to explore how Thomas Jefferson came to be a supporter and promoter of empires.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Frank Cogliano, a Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh and author of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson’s Foreign Policy, joins us to explore how Thomas Jefferson came to be a supporter and promoter of empire.
During our exploration, Frank reveals Thomas Jefferson’s vision of the United States as an “Empire of Liberty”; Why Jefferson believed that the United States needed both land and free trade to function as a republic; And, details about how Jefferson’s vision for the United States informed his diplomatic and executive decisions.
What You’ll Discover
- How Frank became interested in Thomas Jefferson
- Researching early American history & Jefferson in Scotland
- Why Thomas Jefferson is still fascinating to scholars
- Jefferson and his vision of the United States as an “Empire of Liberty”
- Why Jefferson believed the United States needed both land and free trade to function as a republic
- Jefferson as Governor of Virginia
- Jefferson as Minister to France and as Secretary of State
- Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
- The Nootka Sound Crisis of 1789-90
- Jefferson as Vice President
- The Alien and Sedition Acts
- President Jefferson and the Barbary States
- Lessons we can draw from Jefferson’s experience for our present day
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Frank Cogliano
- Frank on Twitter: @FrankCogliano
- Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy
- Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson’s Foreign Policy
- National Library of Scotland
- International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello
- The Whiskey Rebellion podcast
- Karin Wulf explains Vast Early America in “For 2016, Appreciating #VastEarlyAmerica”
- “#VastEarlyAmerica and Origin Stories: WMQ 1:1”
- “Report from #VastEarlyAmerica, 2017”
- “The OI Guides to #VastEarlyAmerica”
- Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
- William and Mary Quarterly, the leading journal of early American history since 1943
- Episode 105: Joshua Piker, How Historians Publish History (Behind-the-Scenes of the William and Mary Quarterly)
- Episode 042: Heather Richardson, The History of the Republican Party
- Episode 052: Ronald A. Johnson, Early United States-Haitian Diplomacy
- Episode 090: Caitlin Fitz: Age of American Revolutions
- Episode 117: Annette Gordon-Reed: The Life & Ideas of Thomas Jefferson
- Episode 124: James Alexander Dun, Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America
In your opinion, if Jefferson had not worked against the Adams Administration and had actually supported the Alien and Sedition Acts, would his presidential administration have been able to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 with the French?
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