For more than 200 years, Americans have tried to make sense of the present by looking to the past. In Democracy’s Muse, historian Andrew Burstein examines the many versions of Thomas Jefferson that politicians from the Great Depression to the present have used to explain modern American politics and culture. Jefferson is a fitting focus of this study, as, in Burstein’s estimation, “he is the one ‘founding father’ whose political sentiments reverberate loudest” throughout American history (p. ix). Burstein opens with several chapters exploring the myriad ways that Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and others used Jefferson to support their political agendas. Burstein is less interested in making any particular argument about how Jefferson was used than he is in revealing the “several noticeable facelifts” that Jefferson “passively endured” (p. ix).
Some readers may wish for a stronger analytical framework, but this approach serves two important purposes. By eschewing a specific argument in favor of a more open-ended exploration, readers can better understand both the lens through which presidents asked Americans to view Jefferson and the historical context in which those presidents used Jefferson. The exploratory nature of the first half of Democracy&rsquo
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Primaries and Conventions
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY
Money and Poltics
April 6, 2020
This event is part of the nearly yearlong Challenges and Opportunities in 2020 election series. The series fosters interdisciplinary conversations exploring themes affecting the upcoming election and trust in our democratic institutions.MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.