Jefferson: America’s Great Contradiction

Emerging Civil War


monticellobenchThe first in a four-part series

I sit on a small wooden bench, little more than a plank with legs, really, beneath a tulip poplar whose wide branches umbrella me. The grass around the bench has been worn away by weary travelers come to the bench to rest, revealing the reddish iron-rich soil of Virginia beneath.

A few yards away from me, Thomas Jefferson rests in peace.

A slow stream of visitors comes down the brick walkway from Jefferson’s house to stand outside the black, wrought-iron fence that surrounds his family’s small graveyard, still in use today by descendents. Many visitors have thrown coins onto the president’s grave—not just the Jefferson-faced nickels you’d expect, either, but pennies, dimes, and quarters, too. Considering the rift between Washington and Jefferson in Washington’s last years, I wonder what Jefferson would think about that.

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3 thoughts on “Jefferson: America’s Great Contradiction

  1. Pingback: J is for Jefferson, Jones, Jones and Johns #atozchallenge | Waldina

  2. I hold no historical brief for either man, but I enjoyed the history lesson nonetheless. I was interested to read that they died on the same day, an unusual coincidence. But I would be thinking more about the miserable life of the 600 unfortunate slaves, if I ever sat close to that grave.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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