- Nov 2017
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 & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either. To know his rights; to exercise with order & justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciaries of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence with candor & judgment. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.
I found these specific objects of primary education to be quite important to the standing and image the school wanted and still wants to portray. It addresses the purpose of the University to create better more intelligent citizens for Virginia and the country. However, to me it seemed somewhat ironic due to the University’s background. It reveals earlier in the article that University's location was chosen based on its centrality to the white population in Virginia. This statement clearly implies a bias against non-white Virginians, even though the listed purposes of the University and what it hopes to impart to its students in this report depicts a different message. It paints a picture of in which the students utilize their higher level education to behave morally, accepting, self-aware, and faithful to social relations and knowledge. Does this mean these standard morals don’t apply to non-white Virginians? The irony highlights how the purposes of the University can be interpreted in different ways, either as a way to serve the white people in order to “preserve [their] ideas” of bias and superiority. Oppositely, the students could use their newfound knowledge to “improve [their] morals” and work to bring about change in society by education others ethics and equality.
The use of tools too in the manual arts is worthy of encouragement, by facilitating, to such as choose it, an admission into the neighbouring workshops. To these should be added the arts, which embellish life, dancing music & drawing; the last more especially, as an important part of military education. These innocent arts furnish amusement & happiness to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it; needing, at the same time, no regular incorporation with the institution, they may be left to accessory teachers, who will be paid by the individuals employing them; the university only providing proper apartments for their exercise.
In an article I found about the importance of arts being included in education states that “Arts experiences boost critical thinking, teaching students to take the time to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the world”. I found this segment of the report to be interesting because it is the only segment that regards the university attitude towards the arts. The language of this segment is very passive, and does not imply its importance, rather it finds these activities to be more of an optional pass time. The authors of the report refer to the arts as "innocent," implying that they are childish and not the foundation of a mature job. However, I am not surprised that this was the view towards arts in that time period because their society, especially for men, was to get an education and job to provide for their family and community and arts was never involved with that idea. That being said, these days we are getting much better in recognizing its importance in actually helping “critical thinking”, this boosting achedemivc education as well as happiness and morality. I find that arts education produces well-rounded students that think holistically, contradicting the reports depiction of the arts being more extraneous.