Skip to Main Content

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.

2007 Carret Essay Prompt

Scholars have written a great deal about Thomas Jefferson's tortured thinking about race and the nature of racial difference in recent years. But Jefferson was not the only one who wrestled with these questions. During the Jeffersonian era (1770-1840) Americans debated the meaning of race in statehouses, churches, and newspapers across the country. How did Americans' ideas about race and ethnicity inform other important questions in the Jeffersonian era? How did their ideas, for example, shape the discussion of issues like slavery, Indian policy, expansion, or national identity?

2007 Essay Winners

Name Award Title
Kirsten Jane Holtje First Place "Race and Indian Policy in the Jeffersonian Era"
Zachary Warren Usher Second Place "Holding the Wolf by the Ears"
Kevin William Delaney Third Place Tie "All Men are Created Equal, or Are They? How Changes in the Racial Perception of Native Americans Shaped Policy"
John James Mackin Third Place Tie "Jefferson and Race: American Ideals and American Reality"