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The two lectures presented in this important volume were delivered by Erik H. Erikson at the second annual Jefferson Lectures in the Humanities, sponsored by The National Endowment for the Humanitites.
Erikson first explores certain themes in his examination of the emerging American identity during Jefferson's time. He then attempts to relate the Jeffersonian themes to contemporary problems of repression and suppression, of moralistic vindication, and true liberation by insight.
Finally, Erikson maintains that now that children will be born by the privileged choice of parental persons, an adult environment fitting the living and the to-be-living becomes an ethical necessity.
There is no question that this work ranks among Erikson's most challenging and seminal books.