Statement of The Jefferson Legacy Foundation contains many lofty
goals and aspirations. However, our purpose can be phrased in a far
more succinct yet no less meaningful way: We seek to inspire participation
in public affairs—in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s life, thought, and
ideals. We believe that continued examination of Jefferson’s
legacy will foster the kind of discourse vital to understanding America’s
founding principles, which are as relevant in today’s world as they were
more than 200 years ago.
John Adams admitted
to his wife Abigail that he saw "rays of ravishing light and glory" when
he signed the Declaration of Independence. Forty years later, he wrote
Thomas Jefferson that "according to the few lights that remain to us, we
may say that the eighteenth century, notwithstanding all its errors and
vices, has been, of all that are past, the most honorable to human nature.
Knowledge and virtue were increased and diffused; arts, sciences, useful
to men, ameliorating their condition, were improved more than in any former
own thoughts on his legacy are revealed by the words he requested for his
Author of the
Declaration of American Independence,
of the Statue
of Virginia for Religious Freedom,
of the University of Virginia
are instruments by which Jefferson sought to institute natural laws in
people possess the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit
The Jefferson Legacy
Foundation intends to illuminate these principles and illustrate Jefferson’s
efforts to incorporate them into the life, laws, and institutions of our
civilization. Even more important than rules and laws, Jefferson
believed civil society depends upon “the manners and spirit”—the character—of
the people. Civil society requires eternal vigilance and a continuing
re-examination of founding ideals.
• Consent of
the governed with due respect for minority rights is fundamental to civil
• People have
the right to alter or abolish unjust or tyrannical government.
• Freedom of
the mind and religious liberty are essential to civil society.
• Laws and institutions
should advance in accordance with progress of the human mind.
• An informed
and educated citizenry is necessary for self-government
We look forward
to building a membership component of the Jefferson Legacy Foundation,
a community of kindred spirits who believe in the necessity of civic engagement
in strengthening democratic life in America.
Legacy Foundation invites you to join our efforts in advancing the principles
of Thomas Jefferson, with an emphasis on self-government, spiritual and
intellectual freedom, and education as a means for achieving personal fulfillment
and service to society. Please visit our web site for more information
on membership, our ongoing activities, or any other aspect of the JLF,
including a discussion of the dilemma of slavery and the controversy regarding
In the spirit
of enlightened civil discourse, we welcome your ideas, comments, and suggestions.
Sydney N. Stokes,
Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to
advancing the principles of Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson Legacy
Foundation is a public charitable foundation with the classification 509(a)(3)
under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
All contributions to the Foundation qualify as tax-deductible.