Thomas Jefferson Memorial Research Paper

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Most students, including myself, walk through campus having their headphones in their ears, coffee in hand, and eyes on the ground in front of them. They use Memorial Union as a study spot or a place to grab Starbucks, and use the columns on the quad to sit and relax in the sunlight. Little do they realize that the architecture surrounding them memorialize so much historical events and people. It’s unfortunate, but so many of us with our busy schedules rarely take the time to read and investigate the plaques, inscriptions, and history built into this campus. During this memorial tour around both MU and Columbia, I learned to notice and appreciate the intentions of places I had been numerous times. With discussions from class and readings we…show more content…
I chose this memorial because of the controversy surrounding Thomas Jefferson memorials throughout the country. Hundreds of statues, plaques, historical artifacts, and monuments have been dedicated to Thomas Jefferson across the country in memory to his presence as a founding father. Recently, there has been controversy surrounding these memorials due to Thomas Jefferson’s disreputable past with owning slaves and how he treated them. I thought looking at his statue and tombstone through a human rights lens would be interesting and internally thought provoking. The statue was given to the university by trustees of the Jefferson club. A plaque beside the statue says the purpose is to recognize MU’s unique connection to Jefferson, due to it being the first public university in the Louisiana Purchase territory. The bronze statue is of Thomas Jefferson sitting on a bench and writing in a journal. It’s location is a nod to the similarly shaped quad at the University of Virginia that Jefferson designed. No matter one 's opinions on Thomas Jefferson, I believe that this statue’s intention was to memorialize his philosophies on individual liberties and his promotion of a direct voice of the people in national government. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in article 21 that every person has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives, to have equal access to public service in his country, and that the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. This directly reflects what Thomas Jefferson stood for politically, and I think this mentality is the purpose behind the memorial. While I hold that to be true, however, one could very legitimately view this memorial as a way to perpetuate white privilege and act as a defense for the crimes Thomas Jefferson carried out on
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