Alan Pell Crawford

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Alan Pell Crawford (born 1953) is an American author and journalist who, in his books and articles, has written on the period of the United States' founding and the American conservative tradition. His most recent book, Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson, a Washington Post best-seller, casts new light on the retirement of the nation’s third president and author of the Declaration of Independence.[1]

Political Thought[edit]

Crawford first came to national attention in 1977, with an article in The Nation, entitled “Richard Viguerie’s Bid for Power.” The first major investigative reporting on the self-described New Right in American politics, the article drew on Crawford’s own experience in Washington’s emerging “conservative movement.” “Richard Viguerie’s Bid for Power” was expanded in book form in "Thunder on the Right: The ‘New Right’ and the Politics of Resentment," Crawford’s first book, published in 1980.[2]

Although Crawford considers himself a conservative in the Burkean tradition, he has continued to write critically of the direction of American conservatism in articles in The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among others.

Historical Works[edit]

Crawford wrote his second book, a work of popular history about Nancy Randolph entitled “Unwise Passions: The True Story of a Remarkable Woman and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth-Century America,” published in 2000, using primary sources from archives throughout the United States. His third book, "Twilight at Monticello," published in 2008, also drew on primary sources to cast new light on the debt-ridden retirement of the Sage of Monticello.[3] The post-presidential years were also those in which Jefferson’s views on a range of important questions—on the nature of constitutional government, on the institution of slavery and on the future of the American experiment in self-government—underwent significant changes.[4] The Associated Press called Twilight at Monticello “intimate and detailed.” Crawford “had access to thousands of family letters—some previously unexamined by historians—that he used to create his portrait of the complex idealist, [and] there are some surprising tidbits to be found.”[5]


"When Paul Weyrich Speaks, Conservatives Listen Up," The Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1991.
"The High Road to the Whitehouse," The Guardian, July 8, 2008.
"Uncouth, Unheeded," The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2008.
"Grave Matters," The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2009.