Thomas Jefferson: The American Revolution Changed the “History of Mankind”

Up For Sale: Newly Discovered Letter of Thomas Jefferson Shows His Vision That America  Changed the “History of Mankind”

The location of the original letter has been lost to historians for over a century

This is Jefferson’s vision of America’s unique place in the history of the world

Valued at $80,000

PHILADELPHIA, PA – July 1, 2019 – The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced today that it is offering for sale a rare and powerful letter of Thomas Jefferson, written in the final year of his life, showing his vision that America changed the nature of human history, his belief that the men and women who fought the first great battle of the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bunker Hill, changed the “history of mankind.”  This letter was famously published in the 1880s and then the original lost to time until now. It is valued at $80,000.

“This is a remarkable letter of Jefferson on the importance of independence not only to the United States but all people around the world,” said Nathan Raab.

Excerpt from the letter: Monticello, July 21, 1825, to Edward Everett. “I am very thankful to the Bunker Hill monument association for the honor they have done me in electing me an honorary member of that institution. The occasion [the first great battle of the Revolution], which has given birth to it, forms an epoch in the history of mankind, well worthy of the splendid ceremonies with which its first stone was lately laid and consecrated. The coincidence of circumstances too was truly fortunate, which permitted it to be laid by the hand of one so illustrious [the Marquis de Lafayette] in his participation of the toils and dangers which followed the event it signalizes.”

In this sense, Jefferson is using the word “epoch” to mean the beginning of a new period in history.

The Battle of Bunker Hill took place near the heart of Boston on June 17, 1775 and was the first great battle of the American Revolution. At the time, Jefferson was a delegate to the Continental Congress. Public records show no letters of Jefferson reaching the public market on the importance or legacy of Bunker Hill.

Provenance: This letter was sent by Jefferson from Monticello to politician and orator Edward Everett. Everett gave it to George Washington Warren, the nephew of Joseph Warren, who died at Bunker Hill at the battle in June 1775. From Warren, it passed to historian and collector Richard Frothingham and then to the estate of a private collector, who sold it to Raab.

About The Raab Collection: The Raab Collection has handled many of the most important historical documents to reach the market and worked with the families of famous Americans in the sale and preservation of their family treasures, among them Neil Armstrong, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, William Henry Harrison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ronald Reagan. Nathan Raab, a member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, is also a contributor to Forbes.com.

Join Us


Stay informed about new historical documents, historical discoveries, and information for the educated collector.

Collect. Be Inspired.