Thomas Jefferson: Life Lines is a five movement composition based on excerpts from Thomas Jefferson's personal letters. The material presented focuses on the intimate, human qualities of the man. The musical treatment of this material illuminates and amplifies different aspects of the inner Jefferson. The music is as diverse and varied as Jefferson's interests. The style, tone and form of the music are directly tied to Jefferson's words. Two fundamental components of Jefferson's being, the rational mind and the emotional heart, are musically portrayed in the introduction of the first movement. The music that follows in the first and all subsequent movements is derived from these two components. The first movement contains eight brief excerpts that highlight different aspects of Jefferson's mindset. Each of the remaining movements focuses on a single subject: The second movement, the death of Jefferson's wife, Martha; the third movement, Monticello; the fourth movement, a dialogue between Jefferson's head and heart; and the fifth movement, Jefferson's belief in the free mind. The music is presented by a chamber ensemble of twenty-two performers: five woodwinds (flute, oboe, two B-flat clarinets, bassoon), five brass (two french horns in F, trumpet in C, trombone, tuba), two percussionists, piano, four vocalists (alto, two tenors, bass) and five strings (two violins, viola, cello, double bass). Historical background for each epistolary excerpt and an explanation of the its corresponding music is found in the preface.
Throughout the history of American slavery and abolitionist activities Jefferson was a key figure. Because he so clearly and fervently denounced slavery as inconsistent with natural rights and the ideology of the Revolution, he has been hailed by many as a champion of equality. On the other hand, Jefferson owned many slaves during his lifetime, and he freed only seven, five of these being emancipated through his will. This fact has made him vulnerable to attacks from modern historians. The critics have oversimplified and distorted matters relating to slavery as they applied to Jefferson and his time. Slavery during his lifetime was not the dramatic issue that it has been made out to be. The major passion of Jefferson's generation was the establishment of a sound Union for whites, based on general principles of republicanism. Specifically, for Jefferson, this meant the establishment of a nation for self-governing, self-sufficient white farmers. In his Notes on Virginia, Jefferson declared that "those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God if ever he had a chosen people."2 The Creator had deposited in these people, to a greater extent than in any other group, a large amount of true virtue. Looking back through the ages for evidence of the farmer's virtues, Jefferson concluded that *corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example."3 The "'cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens," he wrote. "They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds."
Thomas Jefferson's political ideology centered on the importance of individual liberty and choice for the common person. Activities throughout his career were grounded on this concept. It is interesting, therefore, that events during the final years of his presidency appear to have prompted him to abandon this philosophy in favor of a more pragmatic, less democratic, approach. The embargo acts which Congress passed at Jefferson's request in between December 1807 and January 1809 outlawed all foreign commercial activities and provided harsh penalties for violations. The president's failure to communicate publicly the reasons he believed these drastic measures were required stand in stark contrast to his political philosophy and left a cloud over his presidency when he left office.
Papers, memoirs, diaries, letters and autobiographies from 1791-1807 are studied to determine the relationship between Jefferson and Burr. A limited examination of congressional records for the same period was made. Monographs and biographies of Jefferson, Burr and their contemporaries were studied. This study shows that the relationship between Jefferson and Burr was one of political expediency and that Jefferson's antipathy toward Burr began in 1791 and not as a result of the House presidential election of 1801. The thesis concludes that Jefferson used Burr's political influence in New England to achieve Democratic -Republican control of the federal government and then used the alleged conspiracy between Burr and the Federalists during the House election of 1801 as an excuse to begin Burr's political destruction.
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