Light and Liberty
Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness
Publication Date: June 14, 2005
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From his personal motto--"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God"--to his resounding discourse on "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson defined the essential truth of the American spirit. In the essays that Petersen has crafted from letters, speeches, and public documents, Jefferson's unique moral philosophy and vision shine through. Among the hundreds of magnificent sentences gathered in this volume, here are Jefferson's pronouncements on
Gratitude: "I have but one system of ethics for men and for nations--
to be grateful, to be faithful to all engagements and under all circumstances, to be open and generous."
Religion: "A concern purely between our God and our consciences."
America's national character: "It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate; to surmount every difficulty with resolution and contrivance."
Public debt: "We shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves."
War: "I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind."
In stately measured cadences, these thirty-four essays provide timeless guidance on leading a spiritually fulfilling life. Light and Liberty is a triumphant work of supreme eloquence, as uplifting today as when Jefferson first set these immortal sentences on paper.
"From the Hardcover edition.
“An extraordinary distillation of the though and wisdom of Thomas Jefferson.”
—MERRILL D. PETERSON, professor emeritus of history, University of Virginia, author of The Jefferson Image in the American Mind
“Seamlessly weaving Jefferson’s wisdom and lively moral imagination into discrete an dtimeless meditations, this far from common ‘commonplace book’ brings Jefferson’s thoughts alive again for a new generation of Americans.”
—FORREST CHURCH, author of The American Creed and editor of The Jefferson Bible