About this Course
4.6
252 ratings
83 reviews
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100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 10 hours to complete

Suggested: 12 hours of videos and quizzes...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified)...
100% online

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 10 hours to complete

Suggested: 12 hours of videos and quizzes...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified)...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Thomas Jefferson, American Icon

Thomas Jefferson is an American icon. He has also been one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in American history. In this introductory module, we’ll explore how Jefferson’s reputation has changed and evolved over the last two centuries. We’ll discover what Jefferson considered to be his most important contribution to the “Age of Enlightenment” in which he was living. We’ll discuss why some people in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have viewed Jefferson and his ideas with skepticism or worse while others have embraced Jefferson. Overall, learning about how people from many different backgrounds and perspectives have interpreted Jefferson throughout history will help us understand why it’s so important to think critically and honestly about Jefferson’s life and legacy today....
Reading
6 videos (Total 53 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
Thomas Jefferson, American Icon Preface3m
Jefferson’s Great Contribution8m
Doubting Thomas: Negative Responses to Jefferson and his Ideas8m
Jefferson’s Reputation from the Civil War to the Cold War18m
Interpreting Jefferson Today10m
Reading1 reading
Thomas Jefferson, American Icon Readings10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Thomas Jefferson, American Icon10m
Week
2
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence

No document is more closely associated with Jefferson than the Declaration of Independence. Listing it as the first of three achievements on his tombstone, Jefferson clearly believed the Declaration to be of profound importance. Generations of Americans have agreed, constantly quoting its phrases and invoking its ideas. But do we really understand what Jefferson was trying to do when he wrote the Declaration? In this module, we’ll explore the Revolutionary context in which Jefferson lived and worked. We’ll ask why the Declaration takes the form that it does, and also what Jefferson hoped it would accomplish. Surprisingly, the parts of the Declaration that we celebrate most frequently today may not be the ones Jefferson would have understood to be the most important....
Reading
5 videos (Total 61 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
Declaration of Independence Preface3m
The Declaration and American History7m
Reluctant Revolutionaries: The Context for Writing the Declaration19m
Creating an American People25m
Reading1 reading
Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence Readings10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence10m
Week
3
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Jefferson and Slavery

The man who wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” was a lifelong slaveowner whose affluence rested on the exploitation of hundreds of African Americans. In this module, we travel to Montalto, the mountain overlooking Jefferson’s home and plantation on Monticello, to try to gain some perspective on this great tension in Jefferson’s life and thought. Our goal will be neither simply to exonerate nor to castigate Jefferson, but rather to understand how he viewed slavery and his relationship to it. Only by confronting and considering this complicated, frustrating, and tragic chapter in American history can we come to a more complete and nuanced understanding of Thomas Jefferson and his legacy. As students attending the University Jefferson founded, it is especially important to engage this topic....
Reading
5 videos (Total 54 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
Slavery Preface2m
A Captive Nation: Slavery as War22m
“The most blessed of patriarchs”: Slavery in Peace9m
The Future of Slavery13m
Reading2 readings
Jefferson and Slavery Readings10m
Discover the Resources of Monticello10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Jefferson and Slavery10m
Week
4
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Jefferson and Religion

The role of religion in public life continues to be a topic of debate today in both the United States and around the world. Thomas Jefferson was never happier than when his Bill for Religious Freedom was finally enacted in Virginia in 1786. In this module, we’ll try to understand why Jefferson believed freedom of religion to be so essential to the future of the United States. To do this, we’ll explore the historical context in which Jefferson developed his ideas about the proper relationship between religious denominations and the state. We’ll also investigate Jefferson’s own faith—a subject of much controversy from his own day through the present. Considering Jefferson’s serious engagement with questions of religion will help us understand the kinds of communities and society he hoped would take hold and flourish in the new nation....
Reading
6 videos (Total 61 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
A Chapel at the University of Virginia6m
A Chapel at Mr. Jefferson’s University10m
The Situation in Old Regime Virginia13m
Sustaining the Revolution10m
Jefferson’s Faith16m
Reading1 reading
Jefferson and Religion Readings10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Jefferson and Religion10m
4.6
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Top Reviews

By HMJul 25th 2016

Fantastic course by Dr. Onuf! I learned much and he helped correct misconceptions I harbored regarding Thomas Jefferson. Great videos and selected readings. The quizzes were relatively challenging.

By PLOct 13th 2017

Great lessons in the history of UVA and its architect/founder Thomas Jefferson. The professor was clearly excited about the subject matter and conveyed the history with enthusiasm and vigor.

Instructor

Avatar

Professor Peter S. Onuf

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor, Emeritus
Corcoran Department of History

About University of Virginia

A premier institution of higher education, The University of Virginia offers outstanding academics, world-class faculty, and an inspiring, supportive environment. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University is guided by his vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of students from all walks of life. Through these courses, global learners have an opportunity to study with renowned scholars and thought leaders....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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