Thomas Jefferson

(3012 words)
  • Hannah Spahn

“Author of the Declaration of American Independence[,] of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom & Father of the University of Virginia”: when Thomas Jefferson composed the epitaph for his tombstone, these were the three achievements which he listed, as he put it, “as testimonials that I have lived” (Jefferson, Writings 706). Instead of enumerating, for instance, his various political offices – secretary of state, vice president, and president of the United States among them – Jefferson chose to present himself to posterity as a man of the Enlightenment committed to the ideas of political and religious liberty, member of a generation who had given, as he claimed in his last political statement, “the …

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Spahn, Hannah. "Thomas Jefferson". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 May 2009
[, accessed 08 July 2015.]