Date of Award

Summer 1980

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

John W. Kuehl

Committee Member

Richard Rutyna

Committee Member

Peter C. Stewart

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47R435


This work studies the relations of Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson in the period of'759 to 1780. The study reveals that Jefferson's denunciations of Henry, in his letters, were a product of his perceptions of Henry. Those perceptions were forged in their personal and political associations after 1759, and those perceptions were essentially complete by the end of 1784.

Jefferson perceived Henry as both a personal opportunist and a political opportunist. Jefferson stressed Henry's anti-intellectualism, as well as the contrast between his oratorical skills and his lack of analytical skills. Jefferson also asserted that Henry was avaricious and obsessed with acquiring political power.

An analysis of Jefferson's relations with Henry suggests that Jefferson sometimes tended to exaggerate the malevolent intentions of his political opponents. His perceptions, based on their relations& were not always valid. Nevertheless, their relations did offer grounds for his perceptions of Henry.


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