Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson was a Founding Father and 3rd president of the United States. He was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1743. Jefferson later became a lawyer and a member of Virginia’s legislature, the House of Burgesses. A devout patriot, Jefferson was a member of the Second Continental Congress, which tasked the Virginian with writing the Declaration of Independence. In 1790, George Washington appointed Jefferson as his secretary of state. Jefferson’s tenure was marked by ideological clashes with Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton over the size of America’s government. As a Democratic-Republican, Jefferson desired a more limited government compared to Hamilton. In 1800, Jefferson became America’s 3rd president. His accomplishments include presiding over the Louisiana Purchase, initiating the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and maintaining America’s neutrality during the Napoleonic Wars. Jefferson also founded the University of Virginia and was an accomplished architect. He died on July 4, 1826. In 1934, Congress created the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission to design and build a memorial to President Thomas Jefferson. Architect John Russell Pope envisioned the monument as a circular, colonnaded Neoclassical building that resembles the Parthenon in Rome. Pope also incorporated some of Jefferson’s personal architectural tastes into his design. In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt placed the cornerstone on the monument. Inside the memorial is a 19-foot statue of Thomas Jefferson, which Rudolph Evans designed. There are also five quotations from Jefferson’s writings on the memorial’s walls. The monument was completed in 1943. Today, the Jefferson Memorial is one of the most famous monuments in Washington DC.