On this date in 1643 our 3rd president, author of the Declaration of Independence, and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. A birthday celebration is planned at Monticello this afternoon.
I've sometimes wondered what Mr. Jefferson would think if we could bring him back to observe and comment on the United States of America in 2009.
- He'd likely be very surprised and very proud of Barack Obama in the White House.
- He'd be appalled about the undue role of religion in the public sqaure.
- He'd marvel at the progress of science but be shocked at those who use ideology to question its findings.
- He'd be proud of his university, but (after learning the games) probably wish UVA would achieve more success on the football field and basketball court.
- He'd be dismayed at the Bush administration's dismantling of our constitutional rights.
- He'd offer suggestions (based on his own experience) for dealing with piracy on the high seas.
On this his birthday, it is instructive to read what he deemed the important accomplishments of his life. Jefferson died at Monticello on the 5oth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. His epitaph:
HERE WAS BURIED
AUTHOR OF THE
OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
STATUTE OF VIRGINIA
AND FATHER OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743 O.S.
DIED JULY 4, 1826
What do you think would shock, amuse, or pleasantly surprise Mr. Jefferson if he walked among us today?