- Sep 2017
Education, in like manner engrafts a new man on the native stock, & improves what in his nature was vicious & perverse, into qualities of virtue and social worth; and it cannot be but that each generation succeeding to the knowledge acquired by all those who preceded it, adding to it their own acquisitions & discoveries, and handing the mass down for successive & constant accumulation, must advance the knowledge & well-being of mankind: not infinitely, as some have said, but indefinitely, and to a term which no one can fix or foresee. Indeed we need look back only half a century, to times which many now living remember well, and see the wonderful advances in the sciences & arts which have been made within that period.
I found this particular quotation particularly interesting because of the amount of irony and hypocrisy that it is riddled with. It speaks of the importance of education to create "a new man", however we know that this new man is of only a light skin color and most likely a slave-owner, not to mention the exclusion of women. Moreover, in my engagement Making the Invisible Visible, a key focal point is that what is unwritten is often just as important as what's written. Here, in the mentioning of the fact that education is better for the "well-being of mankind", it is implied that solely educating the white male slave owners will be progressive to civilization because of newfound knowledge that will be entrusted with them. As such, in mentioning that education is meant to be passed down to successive generations, the unwritten irony is in the fact that increasingly only a smaller amount of the entire population will be educated because of the ratio to the enslaved people population to the non-enslaved people population. This quotation shows the naive yet justified mindset of the elite class in education administration and society as a whole in the early 19th century America.
- Muhammad Amjad