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date: 20 April 2021

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Shortly after Great Britain imposed the Intolerable Acts Thomas Jefferson wrote this pamphlet to provide guidance for the Virginian delegates to the Continental Congress in 1774. Jefferson was reacting not only to stricter imperial control over his own colony (including the royal governor’s dissolution of Virginia’s assembly) but also to new imperial policies that jeopardized local control in the Massachusetts colony. Jefferson’s Summary View, which was distributed widely at the Continental Congress, helped elevate his status as a national leader and provided a broad intellectual foundation for the colonists’ impending separation from Great Britain.

Thomas Jefferson, A Summary View of the Rights of British America: Set Forth in Some Resolutions Intended for the Inspection of the Present Delegates of the People of Virginia, Now in Convention (Virginia: Clementina Rind, 1774. Reprinted in London for G. Kearsly, 1774).

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