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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.

2004 Carret Essay Prompt

Historian Joseph Ellis has written that "for Jefferson, more than any other major figure in the revolutionary generation, the West was America's future." Jefferson himself spoke of the West as the "empire of liberty." Why did Jefferson and his generation attach such enormous importance to the West, and what complications did they encounter?