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What Matters Most

January 15, 2014

Thomas Jefferson served the United States as Secretary of State in the Washington Administration.  He was John Adams’s Vice President, and later presided over his own administration for eight years.  But Jefferson’s epitaph, by his own design, mentions none of these accomplishments.

Jefferson was proud to have authored the Declaration of Independence and to have founded the University of Virginia, and these are the first and last items on his tombstone’s list of three noteworthy enterprises.  Item number two reminds us that Jefferson also authored the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.  One of the clauses in this masterpiece of legislation states: “That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”

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