"Notes on the State of Virginia" by Thomas Jefferson

Notes on the State of Virginia An Annotated Edition Annotated Edition Thomas Jefferson, Robert Pierce Forbes

Publication date:
14 Jun 2022
Yale University Press
408 pages: 235 x 156mm
30 b-w illus.
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The first edition of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia to be based on both the 1785 first edition and the original manuscript

Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia has been called the most important book written in America prior to 1800: a highly influential portrait of the young republic by one of its leading citizens. In the first edition to be based on both the 1785 first edition and the original manuscript, Robert Pierce Forbes uncovers Jefferson’s extensive revisions, situating the work in the context of transatlantic antislavery debates and shedding new light on Jefferson’s shocking disparagement of African Americans. This comprehensive annotated edition is a rich and valuable study of the work that catapulted the once little-known former governor and diplomat to international fame.

Robert Pierce Forbes taught U.S. history at the University of Connecticut and was the founding associate director of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He is the author of The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America. He lives in New Haven, CT.

"The new standard edition of Jefferson's Notes. Forbes's careful reproduction of textual alterations provides a unique window into the meticulous composition of Notes and thereby into the mind of its author."—Philipp Ziesche, Papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University

"Forbes provides excellent context for Jefferson's writing of the Notes, exploring in depth the most controversial passages concerning race and slavery. This, along with careful editing of the text, allows scholars to appreciate and engage with the Notes in new ways."—Frank Cogliano, University of Edinburgh

“A tour de force. To paraphrase Chief Justice John Marshall’s description of the Constitution in McColloch v. Md, ‘This [book is]. . . intended to endure for ages to come.’”—Paul Finkelman, Gratz College

"Comprehensive, exhaustive, astounding in its depth and understanding of the man and his times, this annotated edition is essential reading for anyone interested in Jefferson and his Notes."—Lucian K. Truscott IV, journalist