Post #1: historian and defender of the Old South Clyde Wilson writes this staunch and stalwart defense of Jefferson as a conservative: Thomas Jefferson, Conservative. Wilson views Jefferson as a conservative reformer, dedicated to the principles of life as he found them in his Virginia planter-society, but also committed to broadening the base of that society in an effort to improve its stability. As Wilson observes:
Who, then, was the real Jefferson? What were these constant themes? They are clear. None offer comfort to the contemporary left. First of all, Jefferson stood for freedom and enlightenment. That he is our best symbol for these virtuous goals is Malone’s central theme. That does not mean, however, that his thought can be twisted to support something that very different men with very different goals postulate to be freedom and enlightenment. His concepts of freedom and enlightenment were always rooted in the given nature and the necessities of his Virginia community and always balanced harmoniously against competing claims.Post #2: an early essay from Russell Kirk on efforts by progressive historians to distort Jefferson's views, combined with an earnest plea for Jeffersonian principles to form the basis of American renewal: Thomas Jefferson and the Faithless. As the young Kirk writes from the midst of the New Deal era:
To plan effectively the nation’s future we must foster Jeffersonian principles. We must have slow but democratic decisions, sound local government, diffusion of property-owning, taxation as direct as possible, preservation of civil liberties, payment of debts by the generation incurring them, prevention of the rise of class antipathies, a stable and extensive agriculture, as little governing by the government as practicable, and, above all, stimulation of self-reliance. If we are to have a planned economy, collective action, we must have these forces to maintain it. And as yet the national administration, or any other national administration, has been unable to reconcile Jeffersonian ideals with authoritarian methods. If one of these two standards must fall, for the happiness of mankind let it be that of the authoritarian.Post #3: Ross Lance explains the rhetorical and philosophical grounding of Jefferson's use of natural rights to support American independence: Thomas Jefferson and the American Declaration of Independence: The Power and Natural Rights of a Free People.