Response to Donald Robertson Question: "Was Thomas Jefferson More Stoic Or Epicurean?" (Answer: Epicurean!)

  • There's an interesting story about his library. After the British burned the Capitol in the War of 1812, Jefferson offered to sell his collection to the government as replacement, under one condition; they had to buy the WHOLE collection, and they had to keep them together.


    Jefferson's offer was met by warm support from many in the House and Senate; still, the bill introduced to authorize the purchase of Jefferson's library faced congressional opposition, particularly from the Federalists, such as Cyrus King, who argued that Jefferson's books would help disseminate his "infidel philosophy" and were "good, bad, and indifferent ... in languages which many can not read, and most ought not."


    Does anyone really think that Cicero and Seneca were the kinds of books Cyrus King was worried about?