-- Thomas Jefferson, Elementary School Act, 1817. ME 14:491, "I do hope that in the present spirit of extending to the great mass of mankind the blessings of instruction, I see a prospect of great advancement in the happiness of the human race; and that this may proceed to an indefinite, although not to an infinite degree. ME 15:155, "I am not fully informed of the practices at Harvard, but there is one from which we shall certainly vary, although it has been copied, I believe, by nearly every college and academy in the United States. Scientifically trained, Jefferson was a member of the American Philosophical Society, which had been founded in Philadelphia in 1743. [citation needed] Jefferson did not include a campus chapel in his original plans. When sobered by experience, I hope our successors will turn their attention to the advantages of education. ME 17:423, Thomas Jefferson to -----, 1825. [8], In 1780 Jefferson as governor received numerous questions about Virginia, posed to him by Franois Barb-Marbois, then Secretary of the French delegation in Philadelphia, the temporary capital of the united colonies, who intended to gather pertinent data on the American colonies. Jefferson is widely recognized for his architectural planning of the University of Virginia and its grounds. To the gentleman it is certainly more interesting than Mineralogy (which I by no means, however, undervalue), and is more at hand for his amusement; and to a country family it constitutes a great portion of their social entertainment. "Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. "Thomas Jefferson to John Banister, Jr., 1785. ME 15:211, "I make it a rule never to read translations where I can read the original. [18], Jefferson believed that a child's memory is the most active between the ages of 8 and 16 years. [19] He warned that "if this period be suffered to pass in idleness, the mind [would become] lethargic and impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time. Upon its opening in 1825, it was then the first university to offer a full slate of elective courses to its students. "[21] But, Jefferson did not believe in forcing parents to place their children in school, positing that "it is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation [removal] and education of the infant against the will of the father. "Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1822. staton obituaries I mean of education on the broad scale. Louis. ME 10:146, "It may be truly said that the classical languages are a solid basis for most, and an ornament to all the sciences. Premature ideas of independence, too little repressed by parents, beget a spirit of insubordination which is the great obstacle to science with us and a principal cause of its decay since the Revolution. Ideas for a national institution for military education were circulated during the American Revolution. [6] In honor of Jefferson's contribution, the library's website for federal legislative information was named THOMAS.

"Thomas Jefferson to M. Correa de Serra, 1817. Let them spend theirs in showing that it is the great parent of science and of virtue; and that a nation will be great in both, always in proportion as it is free. In the grammar schools, children would learn Greek and Latin;[14] advanced geography;[18] the higher branches of numerical arithmetic;[14][18] geometry;[18] and the elementary principles of navigation. In Natural philosophy, I mean to include Chemistry and Agriculture, and in Natural history, to include Botany, as well as the other branches of those departments. A professor not so educated would "incurcontempt, and bring disreputation on the institution. The officers would be reliable republicans rather than a closed elite as in Europe, for the cadets were to be appointed by Congressmen, and thus exactly reflect the nation's politics. It is that of government [A new professor may be] one of that school of quondam federalism, now consolidation. ME 16:6, Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1826. Who are the men of most learning, of most eloquence, most beloved by their countrymen and most trusted and promoted by them? In May 1801 Secretary of War Henry Dearborn announced that the president had "decided in favor of the immediate establishment of a military school at West Point and also on the appointment of Major Jonathan Williams", grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, to direct "the necessary arrangements, at that place for the commencement of the school. Throughout his life, Jefferson depended on books for his education. The university was to be the capstone, available to only the best selected students. Each academic unit is designed with a two-story temple front facing the quadrangle, while the library is modeled on the Roman Pantheon. "Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1794. At the end of grammar school, one half of the boys would be dismissed. Closely involved in the university until his death, Jefferson invited students and faculty of the school to his home; Edgar Allan Poe was among those students. ME 5:186, Papers 8:636, "Although I do not, with some enthusiasts, believe that the human condition will ever advance to such a state of perfection as that there shall no longer be pain or vice in the world, yet I believe it susceptible of much improvement, and most of all in matters of government and religion; and that the diffusion of knowledge among the people is to be the instrument by which it is to be effected. This quality is the germ of all education in him. "Thomas Jefferson to David Williams, 1803. In the [university], all the useful sciences in their highest degree. The insubordination of our youth is now the greatest obstacle to their education. "[19] Linguists have found that people learn additional languages more readily if starting at a younger age. "Thomas Jefferson to John Banister, Jr., 1785. "[citation needed]. These schools would teach "reading, writing, and arithmetic"; the "general notions of geography";[18] as well as Greek, Roman, European and American history. The University was designed as the capstone of the educational system of Virginia. Every family in the district would be entitled to send their children to the school for three years, free of charge. It is in our seminary that that vestal flame [of republicanism] is to be kept alive. No country gentleman should be without what amuses every step he takes into his fields. He intended to pay off some of his large debt, but immediately started buying more books. Cast your eye over America. [20] A letter to Joseph Priestley, in January, 1800, indicated that he had been planning the University for decades before its establishment. "Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard, 1789. ME 16:103. Gardens and vegetable plots are placed behind surrounded by serpentine walls, affirming the importance of the agrarian lifestyle. "[21] He believed that "no other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness" and that failing to provide public education would "leave the people in ignorance. ME 15:156, Thomas Jefferson to M. Correa de Serra, 1817. This process created more and more professors in the country and helped further education in the states. As he thought that learning languages mostly involved memorizing, he thought this period was the ideal time to learn "the most useful languages antient and modern. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [of monarchial government]. [citation needed] A survey of members of the American Institute of Architects identified Jefferson's campus as the most significant work of architecture in America. "Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. "[5], By 1815, Jefferson's library included 6,487 books, which he sold to the Library of Congress for $23,950 to replace the smaller collection destroyed in the War of 1812. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. Pope, Dryden, Thompson, Shakespeare, and of the French, Moliere, Racine, the Corneilles, may be read with pleasure and improvement. The book is Jefferson's vigorous and often eloquent argument about the nature of the good society, which he believed was incarnated by Virginia. Jefferson was aided by Thomas Walker, George R. Clark, and U.S. geographer Thomas Hutchins. It has been ranked as the most important American book published before 1800. There is a certain period of life, say from eight to fifteen or sixteen years of age, when the mind, like the body, is not yet firm enough for laborious and close operations. Their acquisition should be the occupation of our early years only, when the memory is susceptible of deep and lasting impressions, and reason and judgment not yet strong enough for abstract speculations. The remaining side opposite the library remained open-ended for future growth. There are conditions of life to which they must be forever estranged, and there are epochs of life, too, after which the endeavor to attain them would be a great misemployment of time. This mass of trash, however, is not without some distinction; some few modeling their narratives, although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able to make them interesting and useful vehicles of a sound morality For a like reason, too, much poetry should not be indulged. On March 16, 1802, Jefferson signed the Military Peace Establishment Act, directing that a corps of engineers be established and "stationed at West Point in the state of New York, and shall constitute a Military Academy. Jefferson believed educating people was a good way to establish an organized society, and also felt schools should be paid for by the general public, so less wealthy people could obtain student membership as well. It wasn't until 1802 when Jefferson, following the advice of George Washington, John Adams and others,[11] finally convinced Congress to authorize the funding and building of the United States Military Academy at West Point on the Hudson River in New York. "[13] On July 4, 1802, the US Military Academy at West Point formally commenced its role as an institution for scientific and military learning. ME 15:208, "[Greece was] the first of civilized nations [which] presented example of what man should be. It is our duty to guard against such principles being disseminated among our youth and the diffusion of that poison, by a previous prescription of the texts to be followed in their discourses. [26], "I hope the necessity will, at length, be seen of establishing institutions here, as in Europe, where every branch of science, useful at this day, may be taught in its highest degree.

[12], In 1785, Jefferson proposed a system of public schools for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the interest of "diffus[ing] knowledge more generally through the mass of the people". But there is one branch in which we are the best judges, in which heresies may be taught of so interesting a character to our own State and to the United States, as to make it a duty in us to lay down the principles which are to be taught. ME 15:405, Stage II: intermediate school (ages 916), Jefferson's views on education of citizens, Views on simplicity vs. complexity in education, sfn error: no target: CITEREFPeterson1970 (, Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. "Thomas Jefferson to Cornelius Camden Blatchly, 1822. "Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786. "Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, 1800. ME 17:424. "The objects of primary education [which] determine its character and limits [are]: To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; to enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts in writing; to improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; to understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; to know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains, to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; and in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. They are those who have been educated among them, and whose manners, morals and habits are perfectly homogeneous with those of the country. He collected and accumulated thousands of books for his library at Monticello. "Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1822. One of the largest construction projects to that time in North America, the university was notable for being centered about a library rather than a church. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it. ME 14:201, "In the [elementary schools] will be taught reading, writing, common arithmetic, and general notions of geography.

While boarding with Maury's family, he studied history, science and the classics. (*), "[One of] the disadvantages of sending a youth to Europe [for an education is] he is fascinated with the privileges of the European aristocrats, and sees, with abhorrence, the lovely equality which the poor enjoy with the rich in his own country. ME 15:481, "I think the Greeks and Romans have left us the present models which exist of fine composition, whether we examine them as works of reason, or of style and fancy; and to them we probably owe these characteristics of modern composition. Classical knowledge, modern languages and chiefly French, Spanish, and Italian; Mathematics, Natural philosophy, Natural history, Civil history, and Ethics. "[12] The Act would provide well-trained officers for a professional army. To all this I add, that to read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury; and I deem luxury in science to be at least as justifiable as in architecture, painting, gardening, or the other arts. Jefferson opposed providing children in these schools religious texts, since he believed the children would be "at an age when their judgments are not sufficiently matured for religious enquiries". "Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1814. ME 18:333, Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 1824. ME 14:151, "What are the objects of an useful American [college] education? The campus planning and architectural treatment is considered a paradigm of the ordering of man-made structures to express intellectual ideas and aspirations. "[25] Jefferson was also in favor of selecting professors based on their political leanings. While in college, Jefferson was a member of a secret organization called the Flat Hat Club,[citation needed] now the namesake of the William & Mary student newspaper. The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life. The first of these may be as well acquired in the closet as from living lecturers; and supposing the two last to mean the science of mind, the simple reading of Locke, Tracy, and Stewart will give him as much in that branch as is real science. Jefferson proposed creating several five- to six-square-mile-sized school districts, called "wards"[16] or "hundreds", throughout Virginia, where "the great mass of the people will receive their instruction". [citation needed] His educational idea of creating specialized units of learning is physically expressed in the configuration of his campus plan, which he called the "Academical Village." One exception would be a case in which a professor desired to teach using a text that advocated federalism. [2] He also perfected his French, carried his Greek grammar book wherever he went, practiced the violin, and read Tacitus and Homer. ME 13:399, Thomas Jefferson to M. Correa de Serra, 1817. "Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1814. Jefferson often attended the lavish parties of royal governor Francis Fauquier, where he played his violin and developed an early love for wines. "[14] As a byproduct, this plan would furnish "to the wealthier part of the people convenient schools, at which their children may be educated, at their own expense. "Thomas Jefferson to -----, 1825. A third value is in the stores of real science deposited and transmitted us in these languages, to wit: in history, ethics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, natural history, etc.

In a 1786 letter to George Wythe, he remarked that "the most important bill in our whole code, is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. It is declared and enacted, that no person unborn or under the age of twelve years at the passing of this act, and who is compos mentis, shall, after the age of fifteen years, be a citizen of this commonwealth until he or she can read readily in some tongue, native or acquired. Jefferson once said, "I cannot live without books. Always eager for more knowledge, Jefferson continued learning throughout most of his life. "Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Board of Visitors Minutes, 1822. The lawn rises gradually as a series of stepped terraces, each a few feet higher than the last, rising up to the library, which was set in the most prominent position at the top. ME 14:200, "When we advert that the ancient classical languages are considered as the foundation preparatory for all the sciences; that we have always had schools scattered over the country for teaching these languages, which often were the ultimate term of education; that these languages are entered on at the age of nine or ten years, at which age parents would be unwilling to send their children from every part of the State to a central and distant university, and when we observe that there are to be a plurality of them, we may well conclude that the Greek and Latin are the objects of these colleges and that they are intended as the portico of entry to the university. "Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782. The quad is enclosed at one end with the library, the repository of knowledge, at the head of the table. ME 15:455, "This institution [i.e., the university] will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. [citation needed]. "Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805. The other half, "chosen for the superiority of their parts and disposition," would continue studying three more years at the university, "in the study of such sciences as they shall chuse". At William & Mary, he enrolled in the philosophy school and studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy under Professor William Small, who introduced Jefferson to the writings of the British Empiricists, including John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Certainly not to all men. I should not propose this generally in our University, because I believe none of us are so much at the heights of science in the several branches as to undertake this, and therefore that it will be better left to the professors until occasion of interference shall be given. He studied under the Reverend James Maury from 1758 to 1760 near Gordonsville, Virginia. "Thomas Jefferson to Wilson C. Nicholas, 1816. Jefferson was a proponent of the Greek and Roman architectural styles, which he believed to be most representative of American democracy by historical association. "Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Burwell, 1818. "[23], Jefferson was in favor of students learning from professors, and believed that professors should have "the talent of communicatingknowledge with facility". ME 15:265, "Agriculture is a science of the very first order.