Forging these United States
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Roger C Weightman, June 24, 1826
About This Text
Author: Thomas Jefferson
Composed: 1826 CE
Written by Thomas Jefferson in late June 1826, less than two weeks before his death, this letter served as a poignant coda to the life of the man who crafted the Declaration of Independence fifty years earlier. Although Jefferson declined Weightman’s invitation to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of American independence in Washington, D.C., he uses the letter as an opportunity to reiterate his conviction that the Declaration of Independence opened not just America’s, but humanity’s eyes to “the rights of man.” Predicting that the revolutionary vision of this founding document would spread across the world, Jefferson asserted that the “mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs” and hoped that Americans continue to celebrate their rights each Independence Day.