Once considered the most influential American champion of liberty and democracy, Thomas Jefferson’s legacy is now closely tied to his relationship with slavery. In a new biography, “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty,” author and historian John B. Boles does not ignore the aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today, but strives to understand him within the context of his rapidly changing times.
From Jefferson's inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his questions about the major tenets of Christian belief, Boles explores Jefferson's expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world. His book portrays a man who challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founding Father — the most idealistic, contradictory and quintessentially American of them all.
A book signing followed the presentation. Copies of the book were also available for purchase courtesy of the Rice University Campus Store.
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John B. Boles, Ph.D., is the William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University. A renowned expert on U.S. Southern history, especially as it relates to antebellum social, cultural, religious, women's and black history, Boles has authored seven books, 35 scholarly articles and more than 100 reviews. He has served in editorial positions for several scholarly journals, including as editor of the Journal of Southern History. Boles joined the Rice faculty in 1981 after teaching at Towson State College, now Towson University, and Tulane University. From 1976 to 1977, he was the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Boles received his bachelor of arts from Rice and his doctorate from the University of Virginia.