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Quiz about Thomas Jefferson  A Unique American  Part 1
Quiz about Thomas Jefferson  A Unique American  Part 1

Thomas Jefferson - A Unique American - Part 1 Quiz


I have been reading Jon Meacham's excellent book on Thomas Jefferson. I have long admired Jefferson and thought I knew a lot about him. Meacham provides us a detailed and insightful look into this complex man.

A multiple-choice quiz by MicjealS. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
MicjealS
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
356,222
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
5 / 10
Plays
309
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Question 1 of 10
1. As part of his introduction Meacham gives us John Kennedy's quote on Jefferson offered on the occasion of hosting a group of Nobel laureates. What was that famous quote? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. American history is populated by great men from a wide variety of backgrounds, Abraham Lincoln born in a log cabin for instance. What was Jefferson's background?
Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. How did Sally Hemmings come into Jefferson's attention? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Jefferson's wife, Martha, known as Patty, died in 1782. Jefferson was 39 years old. Why did he never remarry? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Jefferson's history with slavery is at best confused. It is said he opposed slavery but also owned many slaves. How can we reconcile this divergence? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. You may know that Jefferson served as governor of Virginia. During what tempestuous time was he in this office? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The Battle of Yorktown was in 1781 but the Constitution was not accepted until 1789. What was the Federal Government doing during the intervening time? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. There are those who might say our current two political party system is not serving us well. What did Jefferson think of political parties? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. With the Constitution established and General Washington installed as President how might we describe the nature of the young nation? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. In 1796, Jefferson stood for president. He came in second to John Adams. At that time the second place finisher got the job of Vice-President. At least based on his writings from the time, how did Jefferson feel about his second place finish? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. As part of his introduction Meacham gives us John Kennedy's quote on Jefferson offered on the occasion of hosting a group of Nobel laureates. What was that famous quote?

Answer: I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

I thought this was a delightful way to introduce us to Jefferson. The more you learn about him, the more impressive his talents seem.
2. American history is populated by great men from a wide variety of backgrounds, Abraham Lincoln born in a log cabin for instance. What was Jefferson's background?

Answer: Jefferson's father, Peter Jefferson, was a very successful Virginia planter with major land holdings and considerable wealth

I have long thought how fortunate we all are the Thomas Jefferson's father was rich. His father's wealth provided young Thomas with an excellent education and the social standing that came with that wealth brought the young man into close contact with some of the most important and influential people of the day. Thomas Jefferson was a man of great talents and it is possible he could have risen to great heights from any starting point.

But how unlikely would it be for the son of a blacksmith to get a world class education or to be able to invest so much time in public service?
3. How did Sally Hemmings come into Jefferson's attention?

Answer: She was part of the estate he gained from his father-in-law

Jefferson's father-in-law, John Wayles, outlived three wives. After his third wife died he took his slave Elizabeth Hemings as a concubine, not an unheard of practice at the time. Sally was one of the children from that union. Elizabeth was herself a product of a mixed union between an English sea captain and an African woman.

As the daughter of John Wayles Sally Hemings was in fact Jefferson's wife's half sister.
4. Jefferson's wife, Martha, known as Patty, died in 1782. Jefferson was 39 years old. Why did he never remarry?

Answer: On her death bed she made Jefferson promise not to remarry

Jefferson certainly appreciated women and did at various times become very friendly with married women. However, his promise to his much beloved wife kept him from a second marriage. His wife's mother had died in her infancy and as a girl she had two step-mothers, apparently not a happy experience for her.

She very strongly did not want any of her children to be subjected to a step-mother and, therefore, extracted the promise from Jefferson.
5. Jefferson's history with slavery is at best confused. It is said he opposed slavery but also owned many slaves. How can we reconcile this divergence?

Answer: He believed slavery to be wrong and attempted several times to excise the practice, but the economic and political realities of his day defeated him on every attempt

Jefferson began his attempts to form the legal bases for an end to slavery as a representative to the Virginia colonial government. He attempted to include an even stronger version in the formation of the United States and in the early formation of laws and policies of the young nation. In every effort his attempts were turned back. He wrote that he held that slavery was a wrong and a time of reckoning would come and America would have to renounce the institution. In this he was clearly correct.
6. You may know that Jefferson served as governor of Virginia. During what tempestuous time was he in this office?

Answer: He served from 1779 to 1781 toward the end of the Revolutionary War

Toward the end of the Revolutionary War things were not going well for the American side, especially for Virginians. The British overran the state capital, Richmond, and marched on to Jefferson's home at Monticello, forcing Jefferson to flee twice.
7. The Battle of Yorktown was in 1781 but the Constitution was not accepted until 1789. What was the Federal Government doing during the intervening time?

Answer: Not much

We may well be disappointed with the pace of our current Congress but this holds not a candle to the first Congress. The treaty that ended our war with Britain and established our nation required ratification within six months. They almost missed the deadline because they could not get the needed quorum of nine states to even get together to vote on it.
8. There are those who might say our current two political party system is not serving us well. What did Jefferson think of political parties?

Answer: He thought that each individual should seek their best course without consideration of political parties

The following quote captures his feeling on the topic.

"...because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was cable of thinking for myself...If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all."
9. With the Constitution established and General Washington installed as President how might we describe the nature of the young nation?

Answer: Fragile and uncertain

It was pretty much a mess and the future of the young nation in serious question. Wars with Spain, Britain, and even our prior ally France were real possibilities. Then, by current comparisons, modest efforts at taxation instigated an armed revolt. Throughout there was a strong undercurrent of politicians who sought to retreat from our government of the people and establish a hereditary monocracy, a trend Jefferson fought tirelessly against. Washington deserves a lot of credit for holding the nation together during this difficult time.

Many problems still faced the nation after Washington's eight years in office and he was quite ready to leave it to others to carry on.
10. In 1796, Jefferson stood for president. He came in second to John Adams. At that time the second place finisher got the job of Vice-President. At least based on his writings from the time, how did Jefferson feel about his second place finish?

Answer: He thought it the best possible out come

Jefferson had watched Washington struggle with the vast challenges facing the infant nation and was not disappointed that he would not be placed under that pressure. While John Adams had been a great friend and ally to Jefferson in the early days of the Revolution as time went on their political views diverged significantly. Adams supported a strong executive and in Jefferson's view was treading on the democratic goals of the Revolution.

As Vice-President Jefferson felt himself out of the pressure of the Presidency but close enough to the seat of power to mitigate Adams' excesses.
Source: Author MicjealS

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor trident before going online.
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