Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson

By Edwin S. Gaustad | Go to book overview

7
The Eternal Vigil

"For I have sworn on the altar of God eternal
hostility against every form of tyranny over the
mind of man." (1800)

George Washington was given his National Monument in 1884, Abraham Lincoln his by 1922. The cornerstone for Jefferson's, laid by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 15 November 1939, contained a copy of the Declaration of Independence along with Jefferson's "Life and Morals of Jesus." (The Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom would be inscribed on the interior of the northwest wall.) Then on 13 April 1943, the two hundredth anniversary of Jefferson's birth, President Roosevelt dedicated the striking marble rotunda, designed by John Russell Pope, in his honor. "Today, in the midst of a great war for freedom," Roosevelt said, "we dedicate a shrine to freedom. To Thomas Jefferson, Apostle of Freedom, we are paying a debt long overdue." In this celebration of Jefferson's birth, Roosevelt concluded his address by quoting the words

-181-

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Sworn on the Altar of God: A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xii
  • 1: The Anglican 1
  • 2: Student of the Enlightenment 16
  • 3: The Revolutionary 42
  • 4: The Statesman 77
  • 5: The Religious Reformer 111
  • 6: The Educator 147
  • 7: The Eternal Vigil 181
  • 8: A Religion for the People 210
  • A Note on the Sources 229
  • Index 241
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