The Mouths of Babes
Learning from Our Kids

Jefferson and Friends

My 11th grade U.S. history book was grayish-green.  It was big, and it was heavy and I have forgotten 99% of its contents.  

But last week changed that.   We were in Virginia because, in a class Peter and I took about Thomas Jefferson last semester, we were so impressed by this Renaissance man that we decided to visit Monticello.

Our five-day tour included visits to the homes of Presidents Madison and Monroe who were Jefferson’s neighbors and friends. Our mornings consisted of lectures; our afternoons of visits to Montpelier, Ash Lawn-Highland and Monticello.  Each place was lovingly restored, but Jefferson’s Monticello won our best-in-show award.

Jefferson asked that his tombstone credit him only for the University of Virginia, The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and The Declaration of Independence—no mention of his presidency.  Monroe, who served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War at the same time under Madison, never forgot that he was a soldier first and was referred to as Colonel Monroe until his death.  Madison, our shortest president, wrote the model for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Our next history visit will be to John Adam’s home.  Although it’s only thirty minutes away, we’ve never been there.  So little time, so much history to re-learn.



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