Extract from Ken Burns’s Address “Puzzled and Prospering: Searching for Thomas Jefferson,” given at Monticello
|June 7, 1996|
I am struck by how much the life and mysteries of Thomas Jefferson have animated, have confounded, and may ultimately reconcile our national life. He is a kind of Rosetta Stone of the American experience, a massive, tectonic intelligence that has formed and rattled the fault lines of our history, our present moment, and, if we are lucky, our future. The contradictions that attend the life and actions of Thomas Jefferson are played out and made manifest in the trial, the trials of the unfolding pageant we call American history.