Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with religion was... complicated, to say the least. People still argue over what he may or may not have truly believed, but one thing is clear: Jefferson gave religion a lot of thought. In the British Empire, the king served as both head of state and head of the Church of England, but Jefferson wanted something different for the United States.
When we think of Thomas Jefferson, it is unlikely that the first thing that comes to our minds is “parliamentary law.” Most of us probably don’t think of parliamentary law ever. But parliamentary law is the basis for the rules of legislatures, which in the American context means, first and foremost the U.S. Congress.
In April, 1805, a remarkable shipment was dispatched from a sizable Indian village near what is now Bismarck, North Dakota. A large hand-hewn boat headed down the Missouri River toward the President’s House in Washington, D.C., thousands of miles away, where Thomas Jefferson eagerly awaited word of the progress of the expedition he had promoted.
Visitors to Monticello and the University of Virginia (UVA) can easily see their connections to Thomas Jefferson, the visionary architect of both these U.N. World Heritage sites. The recent dedication of the Memorial to Enslaved Workers at UVA reveals Monticello’s enslaved community and the University are connected as well - names of people enslaved at Monticello are among the names and memory marks of the UVA Memorial’s inner ring.
While historians have been quick to highlight the national reasons for Jefferson’s vocal support for the admission of Missouri, the situation at Monticello that shaped his thinking has been largely overlooked. In September 1819, Jefferson had agreed to be guarantor of two $10,000 loans for his friend Wilson Cary Nicholas, who promptly died the following year.
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902