Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Jefferson’s Platonic Republicanism

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

That Jefferson execrated Plato in an 1814 letter to friend John Adams. In it, he expresses an unsympathetic, hostile view of Plato’s Republic, and the reasons are several. Nonetheless, Plato’s views on what makes government fundamentally sound are, at base, remarkably similar to Jefferson’s both in substance and sentiment, so much so that it is inconceivable to think that Plato’s Republic had little effect on Jefferson’s political thinking. That makes his execration of Plato difficult to understand.This paper is an attempt to show that Jefferson, despite the tenor of his letter to Adams, had much more than a dilettante’s grasp of the political content of Plato’s major work. Jefferson was very likely quite familiar with the work, since his own political philosophy assimilates key substratal Platonic political principles of good, stable governing. His disavowal of the work and execration of Plato, then, is due to a constellation of other factors: Adams’s feelings toward Plato, Jefferson’s views on the corruptions of Jesus’s teachings, his deep-dyed detestation of metempiricism, his view that Plato was an unoriginal thinker, and strong disagreement with Plato’s means to instantiate substratal political principles.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, Rider University2083 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation