Ten days before Jefferson died, he wrote some notes for the approaching fiftieth anniversary of his Declaration of Independence. "May it be to the world what I believe it will be... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government... The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God..." Science! To us that means total sorveillance, electronic devices to track others, weapons of mass...
On July 4, 1826, Jefferson died. For posterity he wanted to be known as the author "of the Declaration of American Independence, the statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and father of the University of Virginia."
A few hours later, the dying John Adams said, "Thomas Jefferson still lives." But Jefferson had already departed. John Adams had his epitaph ready; it was to the point: "Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsability of the peace with France in the year 1800".
"Let us now praise famous men and our fathers that begat us", as the New England hymn of my youth, based on Ecclesiacticus, most pointedly instructed us.
(Gore Vidal, Inventing a Nation - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, 2003)