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November 1976

Thomas Jefferson and the Revolution of the Mind

Author Affiliations

From the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(ANIVERSARY):1637-1641. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630360005002

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Some years ago, on the occasion of a state dinner honoring the Nobel laureates of the Americas, President John F. Kennedy called his assembled guests "the most extraordinary collection of talents that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." The third President of the United States was indeed a "most extraordinary collection of talents," not only a statesman but a scientist, architect, musician, agriculturist, lawyer, educator, philologist, ethnologist, inventor, geographer and so on. This multifaceted genius, this "American Leonardo," led the footsteps of America into the paths of civilization. In this bicentennial season, we are apt to remember Jefferson best as the philosopher of American liberty and self-government; and perhaps this is as it should be. But the American Revolution Jefferson envisioned was a revolution of mind as well as of government. It looked to the release of

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