Marble; height: 31.25 inches (79.4 cm); width: 28 inches (71.1 cm); depth: 18 inches (45.7 cm). U.S. Senate Chamber.
John Adams, 1890
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.