On September 11 at noon, James C. Thompson delivered a Banner Lecture entitled "Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment—Paris, 1785." In the summer of 1784, Thomas Jefferson traveled to Paris as minister of the United States to France and lived there for five years. During this time, he made a series of excursions with Pierre Cabanis, a philosophe and an influential member of French society. Cabanis acquainted Jefferson not only with the city and its people but also with the enlightened ideas in French thought. James Thompson provides rich details of this transformative period in Thomas Jefferson’s life in his book, Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment—Paris 1785.
James C. Thompson has taught philosophy at Strayer University in Alexandria. He is the author of Beyond the Veil of Reason—Thomas Jefferson’s Early Political Initiatives, The Birth of Virginia’s Aristocracy, and Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment—Paris 1785.