Thomas Jefferson was only thirty-three years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence—fourteen hundred and fifty-eight words that would change the course of history. With the stroke of his pen, Jefferson articulated radical new ideas on liberty, equality, and self-government. He provided the new nation with its mission statement:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate what Jefferson called “the great birthday of our Republic,” and we honor the boundless impact of the American Declaration, a document that inspires and challenges people everywhere. The West Lawn at Monticello provides the ideal setting for a July 4th celebration. On hallowed ground, Jefferson’s presence is undeniable.
Independence Day on the mountaintop features what is now the oldest U.S. naturalization ceremony conducted outside of a courtroom. Since 1963, individuals from around the world have taken the Oath of Allegiance on the steps of Jefferson’s historic home. The celebration is a poignant articulation of our efforts to infuse Jefferson’s legacy into the national discourse. Thousands of visitors gather each year, in person and via live-stream on our website. They come to bear witness, and to hear stirring reflections on citizenship from a remarkable cast of Americans—presidents and dignitaries, award-winning entertainers and athletes, prominent historians and global business leaders.
July 4th is a massive undertaking for the Foundation. It is also Monticello’s greatest public moment. With your support, we can broadcast this event as America’s signature Independence Day celebration.
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