Thomas Jefferson Religious Freedom Monument - Fredericksburg VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 18.360 W 077° 28.108
18S E 284163 N 4242650
Quick Description: A monument commemorates Thomas Jefferson's drafting of the Statute of Religious Freedom that became the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 5/8/2011 8:47:52 AM
Waymark Code: WMBD2N
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 11

Long Description:
In January 1777, Thomas Jefferson met with his advisory committee which included George Mason, Edmond Pendleton, George Wythe and Thomas Ludwell Lee in Fredericksburg, Virginia to draft the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. It established the right of every man and woman to their own religious beliefs and opinions. Nine years later, it was passed by the General Assembly in Richmond to become the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. This statute was eventually incorporated into the Constitution as the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

In 1932, the Fredericksburg City Council commissioned St. Clair Brooks, a stonemason, to erect a monument commemorating Jefferson's bill. It was originally installed on George St., but in 1977, it was moved to its present location on Washington Ave. near KenmoreClick for related waymark to open in new window.

The Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom was one of Jefferson's proudest achievements, the others being the Declaration of Independence and the University of Virginia. The Religious Freedom monument is the third-oldest memorial to the statute he drafted; the older two memorials are inscribed on his original tombstone at the University of Missouri and his replacement tombstone at Monticello.

The stone column bears two bronze plaques on each side:

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

FROM A MEETING IN FREDERICKSBURG,
JANUARY 13 -17, 1777,
OF A COMMITTEE OF REVISORS
APPOINTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF VIRGINIA, COMPOSED OF THOMAS
JEFFERSON, GEORGE MASON, EDMUND
PENDLETON, GEORGE WYTHE, AND THOMAS
LUDWELL LEE TO "SETTLE THE PLAN OF
OPERATION AND TO DISTRIBUTE THE
WORK"- EVOLVED

THE STATUTE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AUTHORED BY
THOMAS JEFFERSON.

IN THIS DOCUMENT
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MADE PROBABLY ITS GREATEST
CONTRIBUTION TO
GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION OF
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

Opposite side:

THIS MEMORIAL
MARKS THE SITE OF A CELEBRATION,
ON OCTOBER 16,1932,
BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
LEADING RELIGIOUS FAITHS IN
AMERICA, COMMEMORATIVE OF THE
RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF
GEORGE WASHINGTON,
WHOSE BOYHOOD HOME TOWN WAS
FREDERICKSBURG;
AND OF THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH
AND STATE, AS THE VIRGINIA
"BILL FOR ESTABLISHING
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM"
WAS OUTLINED BY A COMMITTEE
CONSISTING OF
THOMAS JEFFERSON, GEORGE MASON,
EDMUND PENDLETON, GEORGE WYTHE
AND THOMAS LUDWELL LEE
WHICH MET IN THIS CITY ON
JANUARY 13, 1777
-----
ERECTED BY THE STATE COMMISSION ON CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT

1932

There are two smaller memorial plaques that were subsequently installed later on the ground near the base at each side:

PLACED HERE BY THE RAPPAHANNOCK ASSEMBLY,
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS,
IN HONOR OF
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE 225TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE DRAFTING BY THOMAS JEFFERSON
OF THE STATUTE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR VIRGINIA
JANUARY 13, 2002

The Knights of Columbus have celebrated the anniversary every year since 1974.

Opposite side:

IN MEMORY AND APPRECIATION
OF

DR. KURT F. LEIDECKER
(1902 - 1991)

FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR
OF
THE THOMAS JEFFERSON INSTITUTE
FOR THE
STUDY OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND
BY WHOSE EFFORTS
THIS MONUMENT WAS RELOCATED TO THIS SITE

Dr. Leidecker of Mary Washington College was instrumental in convincing the City Council in moving the monument to its current location in the 1970s.

References:

Relevant Website: [Web Link]

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