- Oct 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
This idea is perfectly neoclassical, which is why one can see that Jefferson stated this claim about the purpose of education in his report about the founding of the nation's next great university. Education as stated by Jefferson creates a new person out of the savage that he once was into a righteous person. The idea that education changes the nature of the person is not something I necessarily agree with as some of the most vicious people in history were well educated. Take a modern example someone such as Richard Spencer one of the leaders in the alt-right he is highly educated and even attended UVA but still remains vicious. However, it should be noted that usually the qualities of virtue and social worth are taught to a person when they come to university and they usually leave with greater virtue and social worth, it is just not always the case.
This doctrine is the genuine fruit of the alliance between church and State,
As Jefferson was someone who believed in the separation of church and state, encountering this sentence in a document proposing a university designed by Jefferson and his colleagues is rather alarming. It is almost implying that because of God, the university is being founded. However, I believe the sentence could be interpreted as saying that because of the heavy reliance on religion in other contemporary institutions of higher learning, that this new university would be one that is secular and not reliant on a religious governing body such as the other universities did. That being said it also noteworthy that Jefferson capitalized State and did not do so for church, implying possibly what body he believed to be superior. It holds true to today that the University of Virginia is a secular one