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You are watching: Founding fathers on education

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While it’s fashionable now to see intellectuals as useless, the establishing Fathers prized education, literacy and also wisdom. Indeed, the beginning point for much of the at an early stage American republic to be the id that the electorate would certainly be consisted of primarily of virtuous, literate, education yeomanry. Many of the Founders thought that a society of liberty was impossible without a literate and also educated society to preserve it.

It’s challenging to argue v this id of the Founders. The development of federal government mirrors really closely a absence of interest in the classical heritage of the West, and education firmly rooted in the lengthy view of intellectual history. The mean college graduate is arguably much less well read than the typical eighth grader 100 years ago. Our culture has payment the price for this, no in the abstract, but in details and identifiable loss of liberty.


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Curated by
Alex Horsman

On Wisdom


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“Illuminate, as far as practicable, the mental of the people at large, and an ext especially to provide them understanding of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed in order to of the experience of various other ages and countries, they may be enabled to understand ambition under every its shapes, and also prompt to exert their herbal powers to defeat its purposes.”

Thomas Jefferson, 1779
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“Enlighten the human being generally, and also tyranny and oppressions that body and mind will certainly vanish favor evil spirits at the dawn that the day.”

thomas Jefferson, Letter to P. S. Du Pont de Nemours, April 24, 1816
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“It is favourable to liberty. Flexibility can exist only in the culture of knowledge. There is no learning, guys are incapable of knowing their rights, and where discovering is confined to a couple of people, liberty deserve to be neither equal nor universal.”

Benjamin Rush, Essay, 1786
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“A diffusion of understanding is the only guardian that true liberty.”

James Madison to George Thompson, 1825

“The course of literati is not less important than any other. They are the cultivators the the human mind—the manufacturers of beneficial knowledge – the agents the the business of ideas—the censors of public manners—the teachers of the art of life and also the method of happiness.”

James Madison, Notes because that Essays, December, 1791

“If virtue and also knowledge room diffused among the People, they will never be enslav"d. This will be their great Security.”

Samuel Adams, Letter come James Warren, February 12, 1779

“It is an object of huge magnitude that solution of education should be embraced and pursued which might not just diffuse a knowledge of the sciences yet may implant in the psychic of the American youth the values of virtue and also of liberty and also inspire them through just and also liberal principles of government and also with an inviolable attachments to their very own country.”

Noah Webster, top top the education and learning of Youth in America

“Friends and neighbors complain the taxes room indeed very heavy, and also if those to adjust on through the government were the just ones we had to pay, us might much more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to several of us. We space taxed double as much by our idleness, three times as lot by ours pride, and four time as lot by our folly; and also from these taxes the commissioners cannot lull or supply us by permitting an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done because that us: ‘God help them that aid themselves,’ as negative Richard says.”

Benjamin Franklin, The way to wide range

“On education all our stays depend. And couple of to that, as well few, with care attend.”

Benjamin Franklin poor Richard’s Almanack, 1748

“It should be her care, therefore, and also mine, to elevate the psychic of ours children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to wake up in castle an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and also an ambitious to excel in every capacity, faculty, and also virtue. If we experience their minds come grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all your lives.”

John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

“Children need to be educated and also instructed in the ethics of freedom.”

john Adams, Defense of the Constitutions, 1787

“I consider knowledge to be the spirit of a republic, and also as the weak and the wicked are typically in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as that the latter. Education is the method to do this, and nothing should be left undone come afford all ranks of world the way of obtaining a suitable degree the it at a cheap and also easy rate.”

John Jay come Benjamin Rush, march 21, 1785

“I take it a deep interest, together a parent and also a citizen, in the success of mrs education, and also have to be delighted at any time I have actually been, come witness the fist paid to it.”

James Monroe, Commenting ~ above Harvard university in “A stare of a tour of Observation,” 1818

“Let our common human being be compelled by law to give their children (what is frequently called) a an excellent English education. Permit schoolmasters the every description be sustained in part by the public, and also let your principles and also morals be based on examination prior to we employ them. … This arrangement of general education alone will render the American change a blessing come mankind.”

Benjamin rush to Richard Price, might 25, 1786

“Every son in America have to be acquainted through his very own country. He need to read publications that furnish him with principles that will certainly be beneficial to him in life and also practice. As shortly as he opens up his lips, he have to rehearse the history of his own country.”

Noah Webster, on the education of Youth in America, 1788

“There is present in man, a massive of feeling lying in a dormant state, and also which, unless something excites it to action, will certainly descend with him, in that condition, come the grave.”

cutting board Paine, civil liberties of Man, 1792

“It is an item of large magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and gone after which may not just diffuse a knowledge of the sciences yet may implant in the mental of the American youth the ethics of virtue and also of liberty and inspire them through just and liberal principles of government and also with an inviolable attachments to their very own country.”

Noah Webster, on the education and learning of Youth in America, 1788

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