Jefferson and the Yeoman Republic
Thomas Jefferson's view of the city, as embodying forces which were foreign, unnatural, and corrupting to the morals of his fellow-citizens, was one to which he would hold throughout the remainder of his life. Jefferson was a liberal idealist, which is what has made him so perennially attractive a figure in American culture. It has been suggested that Jefferson's yeoman republic was simply Virginia writ large. The implications for the national culture would be deferred during the decade in which the national government resided in Philadelphia. That city, during this period, was plausibly as good a choice as New York, and for all anyone knew perhaps a better one. Jefferson would continue to believe in the pernicious effects of cities and to deplore what he saw of their commercial character. He would nonetheless be tolerably compensated by the varied amenities of Philadelphia life.
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