The great historian of the American Revolution Gordon Wood discusses his majestic new dual biography of two of America’s most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament, yet they worked closely in the crucible of revolution, crafting the Declaration of Independence and leading, with Franklin, the diplomatic effort that brought France into the fight. Even so, their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. It was a bitter breach, lasting through the presidential administrations of both men, and beyond. But late in life, something remarkable happened: these two men were nudged into reconciliation.
Arguably no relationship in this country’s history carries as much freight as that of Adams and Jefferson. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America’s collective story.
After his talk, Dr. Wood will sign copies of Friends Divided, which will be available for purchase.
For more information, please visit https://newberry.org/10112018-friends-divided-john-adams-and-thomas-jefferson