6 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. The best mode of government for youth in large collections, is certainly a desideratum not yet attained with us. It may well be questioned whether fear, after a certain age, is the motive to which we should have ordinary recourse. The human character is susceptible of other incitements to correct conduct, more worthy of employ, and of better effect. Pride of character, laudable ambition, & moral dispositions are innate correctives of the indiscretions of that lively age; and when strengthened by habitual appeal & exercise, have a happier effect on future character, than the degrading motive of fear; hardening them to disgrace, to corporal punishments, and servile humiliations, cannot be the best process for producing erect character. The affectionate deportment between father & son offers, in truth, the best example for that of tutor & pupil

      This excerpt from the Rockfish Gap Report draws an intriguing parallel between the founding ideals of the University of Virginia and the honor systems in place today. It can lucidly be seen that Thomas Jefferson placed a strong emphasis on self-evaluation and moral conduct as the defining principles of the UVA community. The focus on “moral dispositions” and “character” rather than “the degrading motive of fear” are timeless principles that have served the university well in its aim of ingraining “qualities of virtue and social worth” amongst the student body. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of the present-day Honor Code at UVA is its ability to create a definite standard of conduct to be upheld by members of the community, a standard that inherently relies on the virtue of honor in each and every individual. This idea of self-governance is one that has transcended time and has come to characterize being a student at UVA. This is one of many fascinating instances in the Report of founding principles bearing the test of time. Furthermore, the relationship between administration and students being likened to “the affectionate deportment between father and son” offers us an insight into the constructive and nurturing vision Jefferson had for education and conduct at the university.

    2. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.

      This excerpt lays testament to the infamous ‘supremacist’ and racial background associated with the University of Virginia’s founding. Thomas Jefferson in his book ‘Notes on the State of Virginia’ offers a critique on the society of the “indigenous neighbors” by stating that “great societies cannot exist without government”. Indeed, by further alluding to their “barbarism and wretchedness” Jefferson clearly condemns their people on account of their rural and unstructured way of life. The writing hence emphasizes the power of education as a means to move “forward” rather than indulge in such a “besotted veneration” for the past. A strong paradox is hence created about the true value of an education. The Report stresses the esteemed values of “virtue and social worth” and the “well-being of mankind” as celebrated fruits of learning. However, these notable accomplishments remain at odds with the racist views expressed in the report. The inability of education to reconcile advancement and social inclusion, emphasize the discrimination present at the time. One of many instances that question the ideals of the founding document. Furthermore, this offers a distinct contrast to the open-minded nature of knowledge and learning present at UVA today, where inclusion and acceptance of other societies remains a forefront priority.

    3. We should be far too from the discouraging persuasion, that man is fixed, by the law of his nature, at a given point: that his improvement is a chimæra, and the hope delusive of rendering ourselves wiser, happier or better than our forefathers were.

      This phrase reflects Thomas Jefferson's vision for the manner in which the University would educate its students. He believed that the value of higher education was that it allowed the individual to reflect on their personal vices, prejudices, and perspectives to strive for personal improvement. Similarly, In his novel, The Myth of Individualism, Peter Callero writes, "Our educational institutions from grade school to college are structured to enhance individual achievement in a competitive system of evaluation." In this way, Callero reveals Jefferson's motivation for an individualistic student, and subsequently an individualistic society. This notion is the foundation for a contemporary, highly individualistic society.

    4. 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:

      I found this quote interesting because it refers only to white men and how they can attain virtue and social worth from education but people of other races and backgrounds cannot. This reminds me of an article that I read in my engagement class about affirmative action because the minorities were pushing for equal treatment and the opportunity to learn and receive the benefits that education would give them. The author of the article, Richard Rodriguez, was not underprivileged as a kid because he could afford education, so he did not identify with the rest of the minorities because he claimed that have the opportunity to receive an education automatically makes you not a minority. His claim relates to this quote because he sees education as a privilege that brings you up in the world because it gives you virtue and many benefits. In the modern society, people of all races and backgrounds can reap the benefits of education and knowledge, not just white men, and they are able to pass on their knowledge to future generations. It is interesting to see how far society has come in who can receive education and what education can do for everyone in the world.

  2. Sep 2017
    1. the benefits & blessings of which the legislature now propose to provide for the good

      The authors of the Rockfish Gap Report affirm that religious worship is not conducive to a truly liberal arts education, going so far as to propose "no professor of Divinity." Yet religious language is smatter throughout the document (such as "blessings," "faithfulness," and "religious worship.") In the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom which Thomas Jefferson also drafted, it is written,"all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." In this way, the assertions of both texts are consistent, but the biases of the authors are apparent in their use of religious language. This demonstrates that a collective view of what a society should be is not necessarily reflected in individual beliefs.

    2. The objects of this primary education determine its character & limits. These objects would be, 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.

      I think it is interesting that the author describes the type of education the University of Virginia strives to teach. Primary education is the foundation of knowledge that one needs to be able to grow intellectually and learn about the real-world. In society, the level and quality of education one receives is of utmost importance, especially in the United States, as it guides people's actions and shapes their outlook on life.