What do you think would be on Thomas Jefferson’s desk if he were alive today?

Download the 2011-2012 School Tours BrochureThomas Jefferson viewed the world around him with the eye of a scientist. His interests were limitless, and he was always on the lookout for “useful knowledge,” new ideas, and inventions.

Keeping in mind that Mr. Jefferson was a man who embraced new technology, what items do you think he would have in his cabinet (or office) if he were alive today?  Would he have an e-reader?  Would he send a text or prefer to write a letter? Post your ideas for TJ’s 21st-century cabinet below. 

Check out the Monticello Explorer, "Drudging at the Writing Table" in the Jefferson section of this website, and the Cabinet in the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia.

Add your ideas using the comment box below. (Requires a login on this website. Students are welcome to provide fake email addresses.)

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says

I personally think that Jefferson wouldn't be tweeting his fellow Founding Fathers if he had the chance. We all know that Jefferson believed in government rooted in local communities e.g a government of the people. I think that Jefferson believed that the best way to foster these communities that ultimately made up the government was through personal contact. A Tweet for Jefferson just would not have been personal enough. I think Jefferson would have seen some internet forms of connection and perhaps even texting, as separating people instead of bringing them together. By communicating only via text or tweet one would lose the personality present in face-to-face interactions and in , to some degree, hand-written letters. Therefore I think Jefferson would still be writing letters while encouraging grassroots meetings for both social and political purposes. But right next to his polygraph I think he would absolutely have a web-cam to communicate with communities all over the US. I think Jefferson, who didn't really enjoy public speaking, would really enjoy the ability to talk one-on-one and even to small groups all the way across the country.

says

I'm torn - but I think he'd be an e-book guy! I think he'd still buy physical books for his library, but with all the traveling he did I'm sure he would have made good use of a Kindle or iPad.
-Jacqueline
Charlottesville, VA

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