Inspiring participation in public affairs
in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s life, thought, and ideals.

About The Jefferson Legacy Foundation

“It is the manners and spirit of a people
 which preserve a republic in vigor.” 
— Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation of Ripton, Vermont is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to celebrating, applying, and raising awareness of Thomas Jefferson's living legacy in a modern world. Jefferson's legacy includes models for civic responsibility; active participation in society; revitalization of democracy; lifelong learning; service to others; and the pursuit of happiness. Our programs, publications, projects, and partnerships — designed to help us understand what the founders had in mind for our country-serve K-12, college, and graduate students as well as life — long learners; educators; scholars and historians; government organizations; civic organizations; and historical societies and their members.

Jefferson’s Legacy

Thomas Jefferson’s own thoughts on his legacy are revealed by the words he requested for his tombstone:

 Author of the Declaration of American Independence,
of the Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom,
and Father of the University of Virginia

These accomplishments are instruments by which Jefferson sought to institute natural laws in America:

  • All people possess the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Consent of the governed with due respect for minority rights is fundamental to civil society.
  • People have the right to alter or abolish unjust or tyrannical government.
  • Freedom of the mind and religious liberty are essential to civil society.
  • Laws and institutions should advance in accordance with progress of the human mind.
  • An informed and educated citizenry is necessary for self-government.

What can people learn from Thomas Jefferson?  Historian and Jefferson biographer Dumas Malone says it best:  “We can learn from him ... that once an apostle of liberty lived a notably elevated life, an extraordinarily rich, perennially interesting, endlessly generous, and ceaselessly useful life, in a society which he himself had made more democratic … His faith is the most admirable thing about him and his most enduring legacy — his faith in human beings and in the human mind.  To all those who cherish freedom and abhor tyranny in any form he is an abiding symbol of the hope that springs eternal.”

Join Us

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation invites you to join our efforts in advancing the principles of Thomas Jefferson, with an emphasis on self-government, spiritual and intellectual freedom, and education as a mean for achieving personal fulfillment and service to society.  Please contact us for more information on membership, our ongoing activities, or any other aspect of the JLF.  In the spirit of enlightened civil discourse, we welcome your ideas, comments, and suggestions.

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation is a public charitable foundation with the classification 509(a)(3) under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). All contributions to the Foundation qualify as tax-deductible.

Board Of Directors and Staff

Sydney N. Stokes, Jr., Chairman
Ripton, Vermont

Clarence W. Leeds, III, Vice Chairman and President Emeritus
Venice, Florida

Peter S. Hubbard, Treasurer
Middlebury, Vermont

Gilbert Myers, General Counsel
Essex Junction, Vermont

David M. Abbey, M.D.
Fort Collins, CO

Bahman Batmanghelidj
McLean, Virginia

Natalie S. Bober
White Plains, New York

Richard M. Ketchum, Emeritus
Dorset, Vermont

David McCullough, Emeritus
West Tisbury, Massachusetts

Merrill D. Peterson
Charlottesville, Virginia

Camilla Rockwell, Emerita
Walpole, New Hampshire

Frank Shuffelton
Rochester, New York

Roberta F. Somach, Emerita
Casey Key, Florida

Sydney N. Stokes, Emeritus
Dorset, Vermont

Brenda LaClair
Williamsburg, Virginia

Wendy Leeds, Corporate Secretary/Administration

Heidi Hutchins Stokes, Research Consultant

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation
Town Office Building, P.O. Box 76
Ripton, Vermont 05766
Phone 802-388-7676 Fax: 802-388-1776

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Jamie Wyeth.
 Used with permission of the artist. Copyright © Jamie Wyeth