Voltaire and Jefferson: The Sage of Ferney and the Man from Monticello



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Voltaire and Jefferson: The Sage of Ferney and the Man from Monticello (23:00)
Item# 11807
©2001

This program explores the fascinating story of Thomas Jefferson’s admiration for Voltaire and how the French philosopher, steadfast advocate of political and religious freedom, influenced not only Jefferson but many of the other founding fathers. Striking parallels are observed between life at Voltaire’s rural retreat at Ferney near Geneva and Jefferson’s estate at Monticello. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Cliff Robertson, this visually stunning video combines beautiful on-site footage and other images with authentic music of the period to accentuate the dialogue of ideas between these two great minds. (23 minutes)


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Segments in this Video - (5)

1. The Ideals of Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson (04:08)
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Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson were two of the most remarkable individuals to emerge from the Age of Reason. Though the two lived in different worlds and never met, they were kindred spirits who shared similar moral and political principles.

2. Jefferson's World at Monticello (04:02)

Thomas Jefferson was a proud, dignified Virginian with a passion for agriculture, natural science, and books; his library became the foundation of the Library of Congress. Jefferson's home, Monticello, reflected his wide range of interests, ideals, and intellectual pursuits.

3. Voltaire's Admiration for the English, Jefferson's Admiration for Voltaire (03:24)

English commerce, science, and philosophy enthralled Voltaire; Isaac Newton and John Locke influenced him immensely. Thomas Jefferson considered Voltaire the most genius of all Europe's thinkers and intellectuals.

4. The Calas Affair and Religious Tolerance (04:08)

A picture displayed in Jefferson's parlor at Monticello depicts Voltaire surrounded by a diverse gathering of friends and visitors. An image within the picture portrays a scene from the Calas Affair, the case that made Voltaire's reputation as an activist for religious tolerance.

5. Ferney and Monticello (04:48)

Both Voltaire and Jefferson preferred life at their country manors to life at court or in grand cities. Each man's estate served as a spiritual sanctuary, intellectual headquarters, and destination for steady streams of callers seeking inspiration from their brilliant hosts.



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