THOMAS JEFFERSON, AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS, AND THE USES OF GEOGRAPHY*

Authors


  • *

    I thank my Clark University colleague George Billias and the editor and reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) had a lifelong interest in geography. Except for his role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition and a few references to his Notes on the State of Virginia, however, geographers have taken a relatively slight interest in this aspect of his thought, despite his having sometimes been referred to as “one of the greatest American geographers.” This essay suggests that we need to reexamine Jefferson as a geographical thinker. Reviewing some of the more important literature thus far, it suggests where such topics may profitably be extended and points to some aspects of his geographical interests not yet incorporated into the geographical literature.

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