Thomas Jefferson Symbols

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The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, a monument in Washington D.C., has rich information in it’s bones waiting to be shown, viewed, and appreciated. It brings a sense of pride to the country and its people. What people do not realize is that this memorial is a part of the foundation that is the United States history.

The shrine is located in West Potomac Park. On the east and south, East Basin Drive borders the monument; on the west and north, the Tidal Basin borders the monument. The land on which it stands is made of landfill dredged from the Potomac River. On the outside of the monument are circle-style stairs that lead up to it. The front of the monument faces the White House.

It was officially established on April 13, 1943. Construction occurred between 1938 and 1943. On what would have been Jefferson’s 200th birthday, the memorial was built and during the same time World War II raged on. During the construction, protestors of the “Cherry Tree Rebellion” did not want the memorial to be built because of the fear that it would destroy the neighboring Japanese Cherry Trees. Female members of the rebellion chained themselves to the trees to try to stop it. However, the construction workers figured a way around them by giving them tea to make them leave to go to the bathroom. In total, three architects designed the monument. The first architect was John Russell Pope who was replaced by Daniel Paul Higgins and Otto Reinhold Eggers after Pope’s death. Currently, the memorial is seventy-eight years old, the east wing is closed off for construction, and the money it took to pay for the monument is over four billion dollars.

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The architecture of the monument is neoclassical. It’s designed with twenty six columns with a domed ceiling and a 165 foot diameter memorial chamber. Each of these pillars represent the number of states admitted to the union at the time of Jefferson’s death. In 1947, a statue of Jefferson himself was installed inside. Built by Rudolph Evans, Jefferson’s statue weighs 10,000 pounds and has a height of nine feet. The memorial itself is made white Georgia marble with a floor made of pink Tennessee marble and a dome of Indiana limestone. The original statue was made of plaster and the current statue is made of bronze.

This particular monument honors the third president of the United States. It was inspired from the pantheon in Rome and the Rotunda in the University of Virginia. For each quote of Jefferson engraved, there is what is called a “memorial wall.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, being a great admirer of Jefferson, wanted to fulfill Jefferson’s wish to be remembered for his proudest gifts. The memorial was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment and of Jefferson’s many occupations. Those occupations being a philosopher and statesman.

Commemorating the third president of the United States, this shrine shows his many occupations that he wished to be remembered for. The creation of this monument was not easy but it was all worth it in the end. FDR wished to show the people an amazing example of who an american can be by showing them an amazing example of an American: Thomas Jefferson.

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Thomas Jefferson Symbols. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
“Thomas Jefferson Symbols.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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