Notes on the State of Virginia Archive

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query XXIII

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Though Jefferson says his catalogue is “far from being complete or correct,” this part of Notes presents an impressive compendium of historical, legal, and political language that details the character of the Commonwealth.

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries XIX-XXII

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In these sections of Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson concludes his meditation on American liberty with a pecuniary focus that seems strange at first. These four queries are about money.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries XV-XVI

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This is the eighth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. ** Query XV: The colleges and public establishments, the roads, buildings, &c. Query XVI: The measures taken with regard to the estates and possessions of the rebels, commonly called Tories

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query XIV

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We’ve reached the section of Notes I dread the most. It’s also the query I’ve spent more time contemplating than any other. Here, at the center of the book, he makes his infamous case for slavery in his time.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries X, XI, XII, and XIII

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In these queries, Jefferson continues enumerating the features of Virginian civilization: its marine vessels (X), the activities of Native American tribes (XI), the locations of urban centers (XII), and the nature of civic power in the Commonwealth (XIII).

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries VII, VIII, and IX

In these three queries, Jefferson attempts to distill the complex meteorological, demographic, and military features of Virginia into a series of data points. His prose—supplemented by graphical tables tracking everything from rainfall to carriage wheels—draws a fine grid over the natural and human activities of the Commonwealth.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query VI

This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries IV and V

This is the third installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here and here. ** Query IV: A notice of its mountains Query V: Its cascades and caverns I walked into Queries IV and V thinking Jefferson

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries II and III

  This is the second installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Here’s the first installment. ** Query II: A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable Query III: A notice of the best Seaports of the State,

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document

This is the start of a monthly journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. I’ve loved this book for many years. It’s scholarly and luminous, unfolding a rich lexicon. Open its pages and whole rivers, chunks of amethyst, living birds, and secret mammoth skeletons tumble forth.