Founding Fathers Blog

Thomas Jefferson – Are You Ready For Some Football?

November 30th, 2011

Thomas JeffersonJust the other day I was walking past the TV and I noticed there was a college football game on. The game was between the University of Miami, Florida, and the University of Virginia. I didn’t get to stop to watch the game, and I don’t know who won.

But it did give me cause to think “I wonder how many of those watching this game know anything about the beginnings of the University of Virginia?” Did you know that the original buildings and campus at Charlottesville, were designed by none other than Thomas Jefferson? Jefferson wanted the State of Virginia to be able to provide an outstanding college education for those citizens who desired an education. He made this a project of his retirement years, after he had completed two terms as President of the United States of America, and until his death on July 4, 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence).

As an architect he designed the buildings, their size and configuration. As a scholar he designed the methodology for the instruction and classes of the students and professors. Jefferson himself was the first President of the University. His friend, neighbor and fellow patriot, James Madison, followed Jefferson as President of the United States, and then as President of the University of Virginia.

Besides being a lawyer, a farmer, a horseman (the best in Virginia at the time according to George Washington), a U.S. President, Secretary of State, Minister to France, an author, a scientist, musician, and author of that immortal Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a brilliant architect. He probably would have enjoyed football, but that had yet to be invented.

In addition to the buildings of the University of Virginia, Jefferson, of course, designed his mountaintop home, Monticello, which is Italian for ‘little mountain.’ When you visit Monticello, you will be impressed by his design, his other inventions on display there, his love for beauty, his admiration of some past and current leaders, and his passion for learning.

But did you know that Thomas Jefferson also designed the Capitol building at Richmond, Virginia, the home of his friend and neighbor, President James Monroe, and improvements for the mansion called Montpelier, the home of another friend and neighbor, and former U.S. President, James Madison? You would be well advised to visit each of these places if you should have an opportunity. They will teach you much about our Founding Fathers and their times.

Jefferson was a man of great talents, learning, skills, and ability. On his tombstone, which Jefferson also designed, he wanted to be remembered mainly for three of his accomplishments. He directed that the following words be inscribed on the obelisk which now marks his grave at Monticello: “Author of the Declaration of Independence; of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom; and Father of the University of Virginia.”

Freedom from tyrants, freedom of religion, and freedom for higher education.

Now think about Thomas Jefferson, and go enjoy that football game.

1 Comment

  1. Loved it Steve!

    Comment by Shirlyn Allen — December 22, 2011 @ 8:53 am

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