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Philip L. Carret Thomas Jefferson Essay Competition

This is a guide to the Philip L. Carret Thomas Jefferson Essay Competition. The essay competition was endowed in 1997 and was designed to have students reflect on the principles and ideals in Thomas Jefferson's life and career.

2024 Carret Essay Prompt

In this year's common reading, I Never Thought of It That Way, Mónica Guzmán describes American national politics as "dangerously divided":

If there's one thing that most people on the left and right can agree on, it's that the way we treat and talk to the other side is broken.  We can't stomach the ideas across the political divide, let alone the people who hold them (Guzmán xvii)

In what ways did Jefferson and his contemporaries contribute to their own dangerously divided times and/or help Americans to negotiate these divides?  Choose at least one divisive issue and analyze how Jefferson attempted to resolve it.

2024 Essay Winners