Long an aficionado of Revolutionary Era history, Tom Pitz has been performing as Mr. Jefferson since 1987. He considers it an honor and a privilege to bring one of America’s greatest historical figures back to life for audiences. His performance sites include Michie Tavern, Denver Museum of Natural Science, the College of William and Mary, Keswick Hall, the United States Treasury, University of Virginia, Virginia Genealogical Society, Hampden Sydney College, Carthage College, and the National Geographic Society. As a graduate of Mr. Jefferson’s University, he is well aware that John Adams’ dying statement, “Jefferson survives” is as true today as it was on July 4th, 1826.
Thomas Jefferson, the “American Sphinx”, as he has been called, enlightens 21st century Americans with his potent words to explain the motives for our forefathers to fight for a government based upon reason rather than force, a novel concept. At the same time he fails to “first take the log out of his own eye” because slaves are forced to serve this new country he helped to form. Question him.
The typical performance follows a three-part format:
Informal Introduction — Jefferson circulates among individuals, introducing himself as he was 200 years ago from the date of the performance.
Formal Introduction —A member of the group invites Mr. Jefferson to address the guests on a selected theme.
Open Questions — Jefferson answers questions as he would have during his time period. The historical reenactment will highlight the timeline of Thomas Jefferson and his historical importance.
Selected themes may include any of the following:
Taverns and Revolution: This popular performance is an informal reminiscence about the events, as Jefferson saw them, which led to the American Revolution. Suited for all ages as well as those with a casual interest in American history.
Bill of Rights: For those who have an interest in Mr. Jefferson’s perspective on the Bill of Rights, the document which promised the fulfillment of the goals stated in the Declaration of Independence, this is an in-depth presentation of the background and events that led his friend, Mr. James Madison, to write and provide the leadership in the First Congress that led to its passage.
Declaration of Independence: What does the primary author have to say about one of the most important documents in American history?
The Empire of Liberty: Mr. Jefferson addresses the issues of how and why he carried through with one of the greatest real estate transaction known to man.
Education: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information…” Will our republican experiment be able to sustain itself, or will his warning go unheeded?
18th Century Medicine: A presentation designed for health professionals. Do they appreciate how far their field has progressed? If not, they will after Mr. Jefferson’s comments on how the “adventurous physician [of his day] substitutes presumption for knowledge.”
Nature and Democracy: Mr. Jefferson acknowledges that our geography has as much to do with our democratic struggle as Lexington and Concord. (Other topics available upon request.) If there is interest, Mr. Pitz will be available following the historical reenactment to discuss Jefferson and his time.
History speaks for itself. So do the voices of today. Read the comments and praise for Tom Pitz's performances of Mr. Jefferson over the years.