The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated to Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), one of the most important of the American Founding Fathers. His accomplishments are many: main drafter and writer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, Governor of the newly independent Commonwealth of Virginia, American minister to King Louis XVI and the Kingdom of France, first U.S. Secretary of State under the first President George Washington, the second Vice President of the United States under second President John Adams, and also the third President (1801–1809), as well as being the founder of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia.
Modeled after the Pantheon of Rome, The neoclassical Memorial building on the Tidal Basin off the Washington Channel of the Potomac River was designed by the architect John Russell Pope and built by the Philadelphia contractor John McShain. Construction of the building began in 1939 and was completed in 1943. The bronze statue of Jefferson was added in 1947.
The Jefferson Memorial is managed by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior under its National Mall and Memorial Parks division. In 2007, it was ranked fourth on the "List of America's Favorite Architecture" by the American Institute of Architects.
Composed of circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome, the building is open to the elements. John Russell Pope made references to the Roman Pantheon and Jefferson's own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. The Jefferson Memorial is located in the southern part of the National Mall. In relation to it's location, the Lincoln Memorial is located to the northeast, the Washington Monument is halfway between the Jefferson Memorial and the White House which is directly north, and the Smithsonian Museums and the United States Capitol located to the northwest.
The photo above shows the back of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Let's go inside and have a closer look.
The interior of the memorial has a 19-foot (5.8 m) tall, 10,000 lb (4336 kg) bronze statue of Jefferson by the sculptor Rudulph Evans. In the photo above, prominent are the words which can be seen in the background and are inscribed in a frieze below the dome: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." This sentence is taken from a letter written by Jefferson on September 23, 1800, to Dr. Benjamin Rush wherein he defends the constitutional refusal to recognize a state religion. The photo below shows the panel of the southwest interior wall containing excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776:
On the panel of the northwest interior wall is an excerpt from "A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1777", except for the last sentence, which is taken from a letter of August 28, 1789, to James Madison:
The quotes from the panel of the northeast interior wall are from multiple sources:
The inscription on the panel of the southeast interior wall is redacted and excerpted from a letter of July 12, 1816, to Samuel Kercheval:
will be remembered.