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Taking Exception to Exceptionalism: Geopolitics and the Founding of an American Empire

Taking Exception to Exceptionalism: Geopolitics and the Founding of an American Empire Review Essay L AW R E N C E B . A . H AT T E R Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy. By Francis D. Cogliano. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014. Pp. 320. Cloth, $32.50.) Long before George W. Bush peered into the soul of Vladimir Putin, Thomas Jefferson gazed with admiration on the bust of Tsar Alexander I. What could the father of American democracy have possibly seen to admire in the autocratic ruler of the Russian empire? While Jefferson firmly believed that republican forms of government were superior to monarchy, he also recognized that not all societies had evolved to the point where they could sustain republican principles. For these more primitive political societies, Jefferson saw enlightened and benign monarchs like Alexander I as the best possible rulers. Moreover, the Sage of Monticello had imaginatively transformed Alexander into the savior of Europe, smiting Napoleon with one hand, and slapping down the pugnacious British Empire with the other. The bust of Emperor Napoleon I of France sat opposite that of Alexander I at Monticello. Where Jefferson idealized Alexander, the enlightened ruler, he despised Napoleon, the archetypal despot. But, as Francis D. Cogliano http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Taking Exception to Exceptionalism: Geopolitics and the Founding of an American Empire

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 34 (4) – Nov 24, 2014

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

Review Essay L AW R E N C E B . A . H AT T E R Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy. By Francis D. Cogliano. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014. Pp. 320. Cloth, $32.50.) Long before George W. Bush peered into the soul of Vladimir Putin, Thomas Jefferson gazed with admiration on the bust of Tsar Alexander I. What could the father of American democracy have possibly seen to admire in the autocratic ruler of the Russian empire? While Jefferson firmly believed that republican forms of government were superior to monarchy, he also recognized that not all societies had evolved to the point where they could sustain republican principles. For these more primitive political societies, Jefferson saw enlightened and benign monarchs like Alexander I as the best possible rulers. Moreover, the Sage of Monticello had imaginatively transformed Alexander into the savior of Europe, smiting Napoleon with one hand, and slapping down the pugnacious British Empire with the other. The bust of Emperor Napoleon I of France sat opposite that of Alexander I at Monticello. Where Jefferson idealized Alexander, the enlightened ruler, he despised Napoleon, the archetypal despot. But, as Francis D. Cogliano

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Nov 24, 2014

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