Three Friends: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe

Dive into history as you explore the legacies of three early American presidents, discovering historic architecture, period music, stunning artwork and a living-history presentation.
Rating (5)
Program No. 9113RJ
4 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Explore the friendship among three U.S. presidents — Jefferson, Madison, Monroe — as you journey back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the time when these great men lived, worked, laughed and loved. Learn about their personal stories and the historic events that drew them together, explore their views on contemporary issues such as religion and slavery and delve into the lasting contributions each made to our nation.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven terrain and stairs.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Visit the historic homes of these American patriarchs — Jefferson's Monticello, Monroe's Highland and Madison's Montpelier.
  • Investigate the connection between Jefferson's educational vision and design of his university while strolling the grounds with an expert.
  • Enjoy an evening of music from the period in which these men lived, and meet one of them in an interactive living-history presentation.

General Notes

Featured Expert
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Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
During her 22-year career in museum education and historical research, Beth Taylor served as the director of interpretation at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and director of education at James Madison's Montpelier. She is now a Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Beth's first book, "A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons," was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Award nominee. Beth holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Eileen Wells
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Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
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Jim Wootton
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
by Ellis, Joseph J
James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic.
by Rakove, Jack
The Evolution of the Constitution of the United States of America and History of the Monroe Doctrine
by Kasson, John A.
American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia
by Morgan, Edmund S
James Madison: A Biography
by Ketcham, Ralph
A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons
by Taylor, Elizabeth Dowling
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy.
by Gordon-Reed, Annette
Jefferson and Monticello: Biography of a Builder
by McLaughlin, Jack
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.
by Ambrose, Stephen E.
. Thomas Jefferson: Writings: Autobiography/Notes of the State of Virginia/Public and Private Papers/Addresses/Letters.
by Peterson, Merrill
The Political Philosophy of James Madison
by Sheldon, Garrett Ward.
Slavery at Monticello.
by Stanton, Lucia
The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
by Smith, James M
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
by Ellis, Joseph J.
In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson.
by Cunningham, Noble.
James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity
by Ammon, Harry
James Madison: Writings.
by Rakove, Jack

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