Visiting an old idol
Charlottesville Travel Blog› entry 18 of 26 › view all entries
Back in the mid 90s I was discovering the internet for the very first time - mainly thanks to the brilliant invention of the Netscape Navigator. And when I was wasting a lot time searching the web I had to find something to search for. Back in those days I was not really pleased with the government and I wanted something else. I guess if I had lived 20 years before I could have joined the masses wanting a communist revolution in the world. But somehow communism had lost its appeal in the mid 90s. Hence I ended up searching for the biggest proponents of individual liberty I could find.
And I found them. The founding fathers of USA. They seemed to have just the ideas I liked and none of them seemed to press the case better than Thomas Jefferson.
I am still fascinated by some of the fundamental ideas of the funding fathers of the individual rights compared to the government. Hence today's stop on my trip was one I had put very high on my list of things I wanted to see in this area. Actually Monticello - the home of Thomas Jefferson - was pretty much at the top of the list of things to do and see around Washington DC.
After all this man wrote one of the most noticeable sentences when it comes to the individual liberty:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Of course during my visit here at Monticello these words come to sound a bit hallow. Given the word men refers to men alone - and not women. And furthermore men are meant as white men alone.
Well I start my tour of the place and the very first thing I do is to join the slave tour of Monticello. It turns out that Jefferson did allow his slaves some freedom - they were actually allowed to have some income which they could keep to themselves. Basically they could sell some crops they were crowing on there own lands or they could get some income from their own work when they sold their services as black smith etc. to someone from outside the farm. But they would remain slaves.
Unlike Washington - Jefferson did not free his slaves in his last will.
Except from the slave issue the house is very impressive. It is actually interesting to be here after visiting Mount Vernon. Because those two places are very different. At Mount Vernon the interesting things to see were mainly outside and the different buildings surrounding the house -while the house itself were actually not all that impressive. At Monticello it is the other way around. The surrounding areas are not all that impressive but the house is quite magnificent.
This may actually partly be explained by the different way of success the two men had in life.
There are some interesting surrounding buildings though.
My general planning
of my trip seems pretty much ok until the moment it comes to the implementation
of the plan - if always seem to take just ½-1 hour longer than expected. Today
has been no different from the other days and I am running a bit late after my
decide to give up on the Skyline drive in
Well I do find somewhere to double park for a short while - so I can go and have a quick look at the university before somebody is gonna tow my car away. And the buildings is in an impressive southern style - of course the university have expanded a lot compared to the original drafts of Thomas Jefferson but they have kept the expansions true to the original style designed by Jefferson.
But the main attraction is clearly the courtyard behind the main building of the university where the original buildings is surrounding a big grassy lawn in behind the main building. All the buildings got the traditional columns out in front of them and you can walk around with a roof carried by these columns protecting you from the rain and the sun in the area.
Well I better race back to my car before somebody else finds it and do something annoying to it - and then head to the interstate to get up in the northern part of the state for the night.