Season 1, Episode 4 Thomas Jefferson

First Aired: October 28, 2002

Ossie Davis narrates this two-part 1997 biography of Thomas Jefferson, the statesman---and slaveholder---who wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson “embodied contradictions common to the country whose independence it fell to him to proclaim,” Davis says, and Burns enlists an impressive array of historians to plumb both Jefferson's genius and his “dark side” (as the University of Virginia's Andrew Burstein puts it). Part 1 traces Jefferson's first 45 years and spends considerable time on the Declaration of Independence. “He gave us our creed,” notes George Will. Sam Waterston provides Jefferson's voice.

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  • Premiered: October 6, 2002
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  • Premise: A series of documentaries by Ken Burns, including 'The Statue of Liberty,' 'Brooklyn Bridge,' 'Thomas Jefferson' and episodes of 'Jazz' and 'Baseball.' (more)

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