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Frank Cogliano, Professor of American History, University of Edinburgh

Peter S. Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor, Emeritus, University of Virginia


This seminar examines Thomas Jefferson’s understanding of the world through his engagement with the Enlightenment—a transatlantic intellectual and social movement committed to improving the world through reason.We will explore Jefferson’s life and times by considering his efforts to apply the principles of reason to the major challenges that he confronted as a revolutionary, diplomat, politician, and elder statesman. The seminar will meet in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the most important centers of Enlightened activity during the eighteenth century. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh (established in 1583), which Jefferson described as “a place where the best courses upon earth are within your reach.” We intend to build on Edinburgh’s tradition of Enlightened discourse to better understand Jefferson and his world. Among the themes discussed will be Jefferson and republicanism, slavery and race, gender, education, religion, and international relations. By exploring the rich canon of his writings, participants will seek to better understand Jefferson’s attempts to understand and improve the world, as well the limitations of those efforts.


Readings are provided by the Institution prior to the seminar. Readings may include:

Cogliano, Francis D. Emperor of Liberty. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Onuf, Peter S. The Mind of Thomas Jefferson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007.

Peterson, Merrill D. ed. The Portable Thomas Jefferson. New York: Penguin, 1977.

Travel & Accommodations

Edinburgh International Airport is located approximately 20 minutes from the university. Airport shuttles are available. Airlink provides shuttle service from the airport to campus.

Train service is also available from London’s King Cross Station.

For more travel information, click here.

Workshop participants will be housed in an on-campus dormitory. Participants will have single bedrooms, but share bathrooms and common space. Internet service will be provided. Participants should plan to bring laptops as computer access on campus will be limited.

The university provides pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, irons, hair dryers, and shower shoes.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel Reimbursement

Participating teachers traveling internationally will receive a stipend of $500 to help offset travel expenses. All participants must attend all workshop sessions to receive full stipends. Participants who do not complete the entire seminar will receive a reduced stipend. We will present stipend checks to participants prior to the end of the seminar. For more information on our reimburse policy, please click here.

Stipends are taxable. Reporting is the responsibility of the participant.

Graduate credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information please click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

June 29th, 2014 5:00 PM   through   July 5th, 2014 9:00 AM
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, EDH
United Kingdom

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Event Fee(s)
Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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