Vail Symposium hosts program on Thomas Jefferson’s controversial legacy

Painter Rembrandt Peale completed this portrait of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. He painted many of the early presidents' portraits, including George Washington.
Special to the Daily

Just in time for Independence Day, Vail Symposium will present a unique opportunity to learn more about one of the most contradictory founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson. Historian and Jefferson Hour creator Clay Jenkinson will portray Jefferson for a special program that will highlight the extraordinary—and controversial—legacy of this U.S. President and renaissance man.

“Jefferson did not leave us guessing as to what he considered his crowning lifetime achievements,” said Claire Noble, Vail Symposium program manager, “because he put them on his gravestone. The epitaph he wrote included author of the Declaration of American Independence, author of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and father of the University of Virginia. These are arguably the most enduring of his contributions to America.”

Thomas Jefferson was arguably one of the most accomplished Americans to have ever lived. Five decades of public service included serving as president of the new United States, vice president, secretary of state, diplomatic minister, congressman, governor of Virginia and still others. He was a lawyer, architect, writer, farmer, gentleman and scientist.

Jefferson was also a man of contradictions: He was a champion of freedom and democracy while also owning slaves.

Join historian and Jefferson Hour creator Clay Jenkinson for a discussion of Thomas Jefferson. After a brief introduction, Clay will be joined in conversation by CU professor Thomas Zeiler. Clay is also hoping to address as many audience questions as possible.

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This Zoom Webinar is free, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance. Vail Symposium has produced virtual programs since the public health order restricted events; the organization plans to continue offering virtual programs until it is safe to gather together again.

If you go …

What: Thomas Jefferson: Explore an Extraordinary, Controversial Legacy

When: Thursday, July 2, 6-7 p.m.

Where: Zoom Webinar

More information: Attending is free. Please register at for more information.

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