Kevin R. C. Gutzman calls them “the Jeffersonians” in his new book of that title.1 One might also call them “the Virginia Dynasty,” but there have been other presidents from Virginia: Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, Wilson, and of course Washington. But Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were something unique in our history: three men who immediately succeeded each other as president—for a total of six terms, twenty-four years—and who were also longtime friends, cronies, confidants, and political allies. They were even neighbors, an easy ride from each other’s houses in Virginia’s Piedmont. Present-day pilgrims to Albemarle County can visit Jefferson’s Monticello, Madison’s Montpelier, and Monroe’s Highland in a single...


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