About Eric Petersen
Eric S. Petersen is the editor of a book of Thomas Jefferson’s writings entitled Light and Liberty: Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness. In it he has brilliantly laced together the eloquent genius of Thomas Jefferson. Happiness, hope, liberty and peace are among the elevating topics in Jefferson’s own words compiled after ten years of studying his reflections in reports, state papers, speeches and twenty thousand letters.
Mr. Petersen graduated cum laude from Brown University in 1970 with a degree in American History, and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1973. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including ABC, CNBC, CNN and the Fox News Channel and offered lectures around the country and as far away as the University of Iceland. He enjoys marathon running, meditation and international travel.
More biographies can be found in PDF form in the resources section below.
Contact: Bhagirathi Savage, (718) 406-6323, [email protected]
Resources for Download
Selected Quotes from Light and Liberty
It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate; to surmount every difficulty with resolution and contrivance. When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone through, it is best to make up our minds to it. Meet it with firmness and accommodate everything to it in the best way practicable. This lessens the evil, while fretting and fuming only serves to increase our own torment.
No man has a greater confidence than I have, in the spirit of the people…
CHAPTER: NOT THIRSTING FOR GAIN
I love to see honest and honorable men at the helm, men who will not bend their politics to their purses…
We relinquished the delights of domestic society, tranquility, and science, and committed ourselves to the ocean of revolution, to wear out the only life God has given us here in scenes the benefits of which will accrue only to those who follow us.
I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man…To preserve the independence of the people, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude
CHAPTER: LIFE ACCEPTANCE
If we keep together we shall be safe, and when error is so apparent as to become visible to the majority, they will correct it, and what we suffer during the error must be carried to account with the losses by tempests, earthquakes, etc.
I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion without imputing to them criminality.
Friendly nations always negotiate little differences in private. I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.
CHAPTER: TRUTH SEEKING
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. Truth advances, and error recedes step by step only; and to do our fellow-men the most good in our power, we must lead where we can, follow where we cannot, and still go with them, watching always the favorable moment for helping them to another step.
The only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it.
- University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland: “Thomas Jefferson Today” Sponsored by the American Embassy, the University of Iceland and the Thomas Jefferson Society in Iceland. Panel discussion with Eric Petersen (Keynote Speaker) Dr. jur. Herdis Thorgeirsdottir, Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights, Bifrost University and Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland.
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
- National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA.
- Florida International University Honors College Excellence Lecture, Miami, Florida.
- United Nations, New York, NY: Joint presentation with Eric Petersen (Keynote Speaker) and Willard Sterne Randall on “The Vision of Thomas Jefferson.” Conference Room 4.
- United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, New York, NY.
- The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic:Welcoming remarks to the Council of Europe on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Prague, Czech Republic.
- University of Chicago International House Global Voices Program, Author Lecture Series, sponsored by the ACLU of C, the College Republicans, and the University of Chicago Democrats.
- The Jefferson Library, Charlottesville, VA: Hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. and the International Center for Jefferson Studies.
- Brandeis University Women, Stamford, CT.
- Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Class of Political analysts, Moscow, Russia
- National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
- Writers’ Society of Saint Petersburg, Publishers of the Russian version of Light and Liberty, Saint Petersburg, Russia
- The University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic: Sponsored by the Department of Political Science.
- Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of American Studies, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
- Faculty of Law, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
- Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic: In conjunction with the celebration of Humboldt’s Year and the universal idea of academic and scientific freedom.
- Pace University, New York, NY: Sponsored by Lubin School of Business. Joint lecture with Eric Petersen and Bill Barker, Jefferson Interpreter from Colonial Williamsburg.
- Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington D.C: “Gross National Happiness,” a comparison between Thomas Jefferson’s ideas on the pursuit of happiness and the contemporary Bhutanese ideas of Gross National Happiness. “Monarchy and Democracy” A discussion on democracy as experienced by Thomas Jefferson and others in America in contrast to Bhutan’s experience during the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional democracy.
- Harvard University Summer Program, Boston, MA.
- US Conference of Mayors. Mashantucket, CT: Eric presented Thomas Jefferson’s Vision to mayors gathered from around the country at a meeting of the Urban Water Council, a task force of the US Conference of Mayors.
- Saint Petersburg State University, Faculty of Law, lecture on, “The Historical and Philosophical Legacy of Thomas Jefferson”, Saint Petersburg, Russia
- Saint Petersburg Institute of Management and Law (SPIGL), Saint Petersburg, Russia
- St. Petersburg Philosophical Society, a lecture on the “Philosophical Legacy of Thomas Jefferson”, Saint Petersburg, Russia