A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

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A biographical film about The United States' influential and profoundly enigmatic Founding Father.

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Trivia

Blythe Danner also portrayed Martha Jefferson in 1776 (1972). See more »

Goofs

In recounting the story of the 1800 presidential election, the narrator says "In early 1801, the Electoral College met in the new capital to pick the next president." The Electoral College does not meet in the capital. In accordance with the Constitution, in December 1800 (not early 1801) the electors from each state met in their respective states to cast their votes. What the program should have said was that in early 1801 Congress met in the new capital to count the votes of the Electoral College. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Jefferson: "The life of a cabbage is paradise".
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Do as I say not as I do!!!
18 June 2010 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Thomas Jefferson by Ken Burns is a reverential documentary but never out of ones mind is that this man of "extraordinary intelligence" deemed the black inferior to the white.

This question, probably the most important, is exposed but left unresolved. The only historian to put Jefferson's attitude into any context is a black one.

The white historians list Jefferson's many qualities and his desire for "a pursuit of happiness" but each positive quality they list can be juxtaposition with the word "slave".

Almost presented as religious scripture, the life of Thomas Jefferson and his ideals are quoted from his documents and letters but it is often forgotten that this man was a politician first and foremost and being so, could easily be classed as a man of malleable and corrupt principles. Is there one politician through out history that was not in some way corrupt?

What must be remembered is that when Jefferson uses the word "people"; he is not including the African American. For historians to presume that his carefully crafted words apply to all is a mistake.

I for one cannot reconcile the man and his beliefs. To state high principles in published prose yet live the life of a slave owner does not sit easily. His words become far less principled in light of the man's example. Do as I say not as I do.


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