Thomas Jefferson and His Debt
Submission to the Friends of Fondren Library Research Awards, 2018. This paper was originally prepared for Course HIST 432, Fall 2017: Thomas Jefferson and His Age, given by Professor John Boles, Department of History.
This paper explores the complex relationship Thomas Jefferson had with the large debt he died with. The traditional understanding of Jefferson’s financial disarray attributes the debt to his inheritance and poor spending habits, but when looking at the debt through the lens of America in 1800, the problem is much more complex. Rather than just attributing it to his personality, Jefferson’s debt was more the result of the age in which he lived in and the newly established positions he held.