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Thomas Jefferson, A ‘Mammoth Cheese’ And The Church-State Wall: A New Year’s Day Tale

Yesterday, the country marked an important anniversary dealing with religious freedom that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Jan. 1, 1802, was a busy day at the White House for President Thomas Jefferson, who had a special visitor. His friend John Leland arrived from Massachusetts with a gift: a 1,200-pound wheel of cheese.

Known as the “mammoth cheese,” the wheel was a present from Jefferson’s Baptist admirers in New England. It was accompanied by a card reading, “The Greatest Cheese in America for the Greatest Man in America!”