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.
Farmer, businessman, patriot, politician, founder of the state of Vermont; seized Fort Ticonderoga in 1775; 1738—89.
Talented Continental Army general who defected to the British; 1741—1801.
Merchant, Continental congressman, diplomat to France; 1737—89.
American painter; 1751—1801.
Lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, CT governor; 1731—96.
Militia general, effectively fought the British at Bunker Hill; 1718—90.
Lawyer and politician from Connecticut; signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1721—93.
American artist, soldier at the Battle of Trenton; 1756—1843.
James Madison (2011)