Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Renstrom

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Isaak

Third Advisor

Dr. Emily Hauptmann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this thesis is to use historical, qualitative, and comparative methods of research in studying the life of Thomas Jefferson, his views on governance, and his impact on the highest law of our land, the United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson's constitutional thoughts and theories evolved first as a maturing political thinker and later as a political operative on the state, national and international stage. His beliefs were shaped by many factors including Jefferson's own principles and character, his scholarship via learned men and life experiences, American and overseas events in and out of his control, titles and offices he occupied, and peers with differing viewpoints.

It is my hope that the reader will both be exposed to the plethora of ideas and thoughts Jefferson had throughout his life concerning constitutional matters and will conclude that his promotion for these ideas would become part of our American foundation and heritage. These include Jefferson's advocacy that the United States should become a strong nation through the principles of republicanism; a commitment to liberty, citizen's rights and political equality; the strength of written constitutions, scrupulously adhered to; and popular participation and vigilance over government to contain arbitrary power.