Jefferson: The Educator NEH Presentation Series at LSC-CyFair April 17, 2012 Robert O’Brien Professor of History
Jefferson (1743-1826) Overview1743 – born in Albemarle County, at Shadwell, a plantation in Virginia. HMdb.org
Jefferson Overview (1748-1762)• His Education – 1748-1752, private tutors – 1752-1757, boarding school – 1760-1762, attended William & Mary WM.edu
Jefferson Overview (1762-1776)• 1762-67 – studied law under George Wythe.• 1769-76 – member of House of Burgesses for Albemarle County.• 1772 – married Martha Wayles Skelton.
Jefferson Overview (1774-1779)• 1774 – wrote A Summary View of the Rights of British America.• 1775 – elected as a delegate to second Continental Congress.• 1776 – wrote Declaration of Independence.• 1776-79 – served in the Virginia House of Delegates. Wrote important bills on public education and religious freedom.• 1779 – elected governor of Virginia and served for two years. LOC.gov
Jefferson Overview (1781-1789)• 1781-1787 – wrote Notes on the State of Virginia.• 1782 – Martha Jefferson died.• 1783-1784 – Virginia delegate to the Congress under the Articles of Confederation.• 1784-1789 – lived in Europe, serving as minister to France.
Jefferson Overview (1789-1808)• 1789 – French Revolution started. Jefferson returned to U.S.• 1790-1793 – served as Washingtons Secretary of State and rivalry with Alexander Hamilton started.• 1796 – ran for president, but finished second so became vice president to John Adams.• 1800-1801 – Election of 1800 resulted in a tie between Jefferson and Burr; House picked Jefferson.• 1803 – Louisiana Purchase made.• 1804-1806 – Lewis and Clark explored West.• 1804 – reelected president.
Jefferson Overview (1809-1826)• 1809 – Jefferson retired from political life.• 1812 – Correspondence with John Adams resumed.• 1812-1814 – War of 1812 fought against Great Britain.• 1817-1825 – Jefferson created University of Virginia.• 1826 – Jefferson died on July 4.
Jefferson as the Educator• Public Education• Library of Congress• University of Virginia
Jefferson and Public Education• Who is influencing Jefferson and other founders?• What was the mindset of upper class colonists?• Increasing the stakeholders• "Consent of the governed”• Role of citizen and education• How do you create schools?
Jefferson and Public Education• Wrote Bill for More General Diffusion of Knowledge in 1779:At every of those schools shall be taught reading, writing, andcommon arithmetick, and the books which shall be used thereinfor instructing the children to read shall be such as will at thesame time make them acquainted with Græcian, Roman, English,and American history. At these schools all the free children, maleand female, resident within the respective hundred, shall beintitled to receive tuition gratis, for the term of three years, andas much longer, at their private expence, as their parents,guardians, or friends shall think proper.
Jefferson and Public Education• Bill did not pass• Reasons for opposition• Scholarly analysis of bill
Jefferson and Public Education• State of the Union in 1806: Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of Federal powers. By these operations new channels of communications will be opened between the States, the lines of separation will disappear, their interests will be identified, and their union cemented by new and indissoluble ties. Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal, but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which though rarely called for are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country and some of them to its preservation. The subject is now proposed for the consideration of Congress, because if approved by the time the State legislatures shall have deliberated on this extension of the Federal trusts, and the laws shall be passed and other arrangements made for their execution, the necessary funds will be on hand and without employment. I suppose an amendment to the Constitution, by consent of the States, necessary, because the objects now recommended are not among those enumerated in the Constitution, and to which it permits the public moneys to be applied.
Jefferson and Public Education• His children and grandchildren• Letter to grandchildren: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 37
Jefferson and Public Education• Slaves• Hemings family• Native Americans nyhistory.org
Jefferson and Library of Congress• Jefferson and books – Book shopping – His libraries• 1800 – LOC created• 1802-1809 – Jefferson’s role with LOC• Creating a national library – Lists of books to order:
Jefferson and Library of Congress• 1814 – Capitol building burned by British during War of 1812 with most of LOC books destroyed in fire.• 1815 – Jefferson to the rescue• Congressional opposition – Called “one of the most mean-spirited party battles in Congressional annals.”
Jefferson and Library of Congress• Reasons for opposition: – Politics – Financial – Subject matter – Foreign books – Science books – Locke and Voltaire
Jefferson and Library of Congress• Jefferson’s response: “I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.”• Final sale of 6,487 books for $23,950• An empty Monticello meant …
Jefferson and Library of Congress “I cannot live without books.”
Jefferson and UVa• University of Virginia chartered in 1819 – Man with a vision or an agenda? – No religious affiliation• Jefferson’s role – Administrator – Curriculum Designer – Architect
Jefferson and UVa• Jefferson’s difficulties as administrator: – Opposition – Location – Money – Workers• “I perceive that I am not to live to see it opened.”
Jefferson and UVa• Jefferson’s reasons for building new college: – William & Mary – Religion – Need to "expound the principles and structure of government, … and a sound spirit of legislation." – Create Curriculum
Jefferson and UVa• Architectural Influence: – Andrea Palladio – Freart de Chambray – More Roman than Greek – Benjamin Latrobe• Rotunda• Ten Pavilions• Lawn• Gardens
Jefferson and UVa• “Is there a dialogue between the ‘ancients’ and the ‘moderns’ going on back and forth across the Lawn? I don’t know, but it’s a -Richard Guy Wilson question we are looking into.”
Jefferson and UVa• “There is a definite hierarchy going on. That’s why he put the rotunda, the library, at the top. It’s the mind of the university.” - Wilson• “Jefferson set out very consciously to create a design that had a sense of grandeur, scale and hierarchy of knowledge. But it was also meant to encourage students and teachers to measure themselves with the best of the past.” - Bruce Ambler Boucher, UVa Art Museum director and architectural historian
Further Reading• Gordon-Reed, Annette . The Hemingses of Monticello• Hayes, Kevin. The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson.• Onuf, Peter. The Mind of Thomas Jefferson.• Shuffleton, Frank (editor). The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Jefferson.• Wagoner, Jennings L. Jefferson and Education.• Wills, Garry. Mr. Jefferson’s University.