The philosophical presuppositions of Thomas Jefferson's social theories
Lindley, Thomas Foster, Jr
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The problem of this dissertation is that of tracing the philosophical presuppositions of Jefferson's social theories. This is done in two ways: (1) by determining his own implied presuppositions and (2) by tracing those presuppositions in the history of ideas. Although other aspects of his social thought are treated briefly, primary emphasis is placed upon his political philosophy. Jefferson cannot be called a philosopher in the classic sense of that term. The attempts to place Jefferson in a traditional philosophical school during the first twenty-five years of his life have been unrewarding if not misleading. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence when he was thirty-three years of age and there is little indication that he had developed a systematic political philosophy. He interested himself in the early foundations of English common law and attempted unsuccessfully to establish the doctrine that true English law had its origin in a proto-democracy which had preceded the feudal era. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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