"EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY" Center and Peripheries in Postcolonial America
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Jefferson's conception of a new republican, postimperial order in the American hemisphere met with considerable skepticism in his own day (the "candid apprehension" of antiexpansionist critics that he acknowledged in his second inaugural) and derision in our own. The thrust of the criticism then and now has been that Jefferson did not have a firm grasp of geopolitical reality, and that his penchant for ideological posturing and empty abstractions led him dangerously astray.