This is an examination of Thomas Jefferson through the critical lens of the French Revolution. Conor Cruise O'Brien argues that Jefferson, though enthralled with the ideological mystique of the French Revolution, nevertheless retained a shrewd political pragmatism, skillfully exploiting the Revolution's popularity with the American public. Ultimately, O'Brien suggests, Jefferson's egalitarian ideals came into conflict with his staunch political support for the slave-based southern economy. Following the French-inspired slave insurrection in Santo Domingo, his revolutionary zeal began to cool. The book concludes with an evaluation of Jefferson's current role in the system of American political beliefs.