I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. This, with its echo of the Declaration (
self-evident) was Jefferson at his most terse. Except for the phrase
in usufruct — a legalism meaning the right to use property for a certain time — Jefferson’s words could be chiseled in stone, or shouted on the hustings.
Talented Continental Army general who defected to the British; 1741—1801.
Lawyer, politician, writer, militia officer, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1732—1808.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence from Rhode Island; 1727 - 1820.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Continental Army general; key to winning the war in the South; 1742—86.
Boston merchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Massachusetts governor; 1737—93.
Continental Army general, chief artillery officer, first Secretary of War; 1750—1806.
French aristocrat, Continental Army officer, like a son to Washington; 1757—1834.
Soldier, lawyer, politician, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1755—1835.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
James Madison (2011)