Thomas Jefferson. Regardless of your thoughts on the former president, he was absolutely fascinating. He was progressive in some respects (sought a new America), yet totally limited in most other respects (was a slave owner). As we finished up our month-long sojourn by weaving through the home of TJ, Monticello, the magnitude of his genius was lightly breathtaking. If you’re into history, of course 🙂
A few things we picked up on the tour of his forever home were:
- Pioneered sustainable gardening in the country – created tomato sauce at a time when tomatoes were thought to be total poison – experimented in hybrid farming to find varieties in vegetables – improved crop rotation
- Fought for free and public education (founded U of Virginia)
- Inventions aplenty – architecture (round windows), earliest copy machine, a plow that dug dirt in the front instead of behind, wheel cipher, spherical sun dial, swivel chair, elbow macaroni, folding ladder, Murphy bed, and so much more
- Slavery was a peculiar area of discord within his being and as a result of the era he lived in — he carried on with Sally Heming (his slave/concubine) for a good long time and fathered four children with her
- Clear child prodigy as he played the violin easily for fifteen hours daily to become proficient -he was a polyglot – was also able to simultaneously write Latin and Greek with each hand
Yes, he is questionable, especially when thinking of him with a 2016 mindset. But at the time, as the third president of the U.S., he was kind of revolutionary. Monticello shows that in all his secret rooms, passageways, expansive garden, and his library. His own library collection was the base of our Library of Congress! I mean, come on.
This is a short post, to round up this series. I hope you enjoyed it, but more importantly, I hope you find the time to hit up one of these places!