Writers often depict Thomas Jefferson as a narrow-minded defender of states' rights and Virginia's interests, despite his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and vigorous defense of the young republic's sovereignty. Some historians claim he was particularly hostile to the New England states, whose Federalist electorate he regarded as enemies of his Democratic-Republican Party.
This study of Jefferson's lifelong relationship with New England reveals him to be a consistent nationalist and friend of the region, from his first visit to Boston in 1784 to his recruiting of Massachusetts scholars to teach at the University of Virginia. His nationalist point of view is most evident where some historians claim to see it least: in his opinions of the people and politics of New England. He admired New Englanders' Revolutionary patriotism, especially that of his friend John Adams, and considered their direct democracy and town-meeting traditions a model for the rest of the Union.