57 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. should be a lecturing room with from two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: that these pavilions should be united

      That must have worked well. Putting families with possibly young children right next to students. In all sincerity, though, this arrangement seems like being a professor was a trade. Blacksmiths or tavern keepers lived in their place of business, and so are these professors. It shows just how evolved of a society we are that our professors are more than tradesmen, that they not only teach but are also participants in research institutions.

    2. each of these was unexceptionable as to healthiness & fertility. It was the degree of centrality to the white population of the state which alone then constituted the important point of comparison between these places: and the board,

      It is necessary to understand that cars and the like did not exist at this point in time. As such, keeping the university central to the state's educable population must have been the primary concern for the founders. Also, because I expect an intense amount of responses keying in to the "white" mention, I've said it a hundred times, but black people were not people in the eyes of whites at this point. It was not a good system, but that's a given from our perspective. To them, slavery was perceived as traditional and necessary. So when people say that this was unfair to black people, keep in mind that unfair is a standard in this world, and that slaves were struggling to keep their families intact and survive from day to day, not get a higher education.

    3. The considerations which have governed the specification of languages to be taught by the professor of Modern Languages were that the French is the language of general intercourse among nations, and as a depository of human Science is unsurpassed by any other language living or dead: that the Spanish is highly interesting to us, as the language spoken by so great a portion of the inhabitants of our Continents, with whom we shall possibly have great intercourse ere long; and is that also in which is written the greater part of the early history of America.

      I appreciate the fact that they mention the importance of learning other languages in order to advance as an individual as well as a member of the community. I think this section of the document is one that is still applied to the education at the University of Virginia today. For example, students in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to take a language course in their first year and I believe part of this is to make us more well-rounded individuals that are able to connect with multiple cultures and languages. UVA also has language houses meant to immerse certain students to a particular language that they are learning. This is significant to one’s development because studies have shown that bilingual people have more cognitive benefits such as multi-tasking and better attention span.

    4. 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.

      Upon reading this section of the Rockfish Gap Document, I noticed how there seems to be an emphasis on the individual. The use of phrases such as “for himself” and “ his own” exemplifies a common theory in economics derived from Adam Smith that when people work to benefit themselves, they indirectly benefit society. In the same way, the theory can be applied to education. However, there are pro’s and con’s to this mentality. In regards to the positive aspects of individualism, people feel more to express themselves, which allows for a more creative community. However, an emphasis on individualism can also be dangerous in that it can also lead to a selfish mentality, straying away from important values such as compassion and camaraderie. It is important to balance the concept of individualism with such values, which I think the writers of the Rockfish Gap Document tried to do. For example in the line that follows, they mention that it is imperative for one to “understand his duties to his neighbors and country,” allowing for an application of individual thinking.

    1. Geography

      Although this is a common subject that all schools still teach, I'm sure the subject matter must have been very different. It's similar to how history classes change inevitably over time to constantly update with current events as well as new discoveries about previously "known" facts. Considering the Louisiana Purchase being only 15 years old at this point, geography must have been quite an important field of study. Today we learn from texts compiling ages of knowledge acquired over many lifetimes of contributing people. Perhaps "geography" was a skills-based class as opposed to a purely information-based one. Some people had to go out and chart good maps. If property lines were disputed a cartographer would have been sent in. Today the profession exists (with satellite and computer assistance), but is very different in main goals and intentions.

    2. by law required at the tavern in Rockfish gap on the blue ridge

      I am curious about what kind of law mandated this very specific location for the meeting. What kind of circumstances would have led to this oddly specific legislation? Since new universities don't really get chartered anymore, are there any obsolete laws like this? It just sounds very weird that the Commissioners were mandated to meet at a specific tavern.

    3. This degree of medical information is such as the mass of scientific students would wish to possess, as enabling them, in their course thro life, to estimate with satisfaction the extent & limits of the aid to human life & health, which they may understandingly expect from that art: and it constitutes such a foundation for those intended for the profession, that the finishing course of practice at the bedsides of the sick, and at the operations of surgery in a hospital, can neither be long nor expensive. To seek this finishing elsewhere, must therefore be submitted to for a while.

      This is certainly an interesting little tidbit of medical views at the time. Part of the purpose is to teach the students what medicine can do, something that I suppose not very many people at the time would know the exact extent of, either exaggerating or downplaying the uses of then-modern medicine. I also enjoy that they throw shade at any other institutions by saying that it would be both expensive and much longer to pursue a medical education at another institution. Pretentiousness is universal after all, I suppose.

    4. German now stands in a line with that of the most learned nations in richness of erudition and advance in the sciences

      German has had a troubled and war-torn past, but is now known for being a major scientific nation, partially out of necessity. I'm not sure about the sciences then, but a lot of philosophers and musicians at the time were German. In terms of military history, Germany wasn't exactly a hugely united country, torn with religious and political strife.It's almost odd that they were being praised for their scientific advances in a predominantly religious area. Calling it a country at this point would be a bit of a stretch.

    5. Some of these have rendered the elements themselves subservient to the purposes of man, have harnessed them to the yoke of his labours

      The sentence here regarding technology and its use to manipulate and claim land as resources instead of shared environments hints at sentiments that continue to fuel the debate on man’s role in exacerbating climate change and the degradation of the earth. While the document emphasizes the benefits of higher education on improving man as individuals prior to this point, this statement here presents a darker, more exploitative use of knowledge for gain. Undertones of submission and subservience to the human race further invoke a strong sense of superiority that inherently perpetuates dangerous rates of resource consumption of in order to maintain high standards of living without a thought for its cost to the environment. It is this fostered sense of entitlement that inherently proves destructive to man’s surroundings, solidified by the current state of the world and the earth.

    6. his would leave us then without those callings which depend on education, or send us to other countries, to seek the instruction they require.

      Even in the early beginnings of America, there existed a “take up the white man’s burden” mentality already brewing in the American citizenry, especially among the educated elite - seeing as education is still inherently more accessible to mainly a white populace (even by today’s standards). Illustrating the kindling of policies such as the Manifest Destiny, to “send us to other countries, to seek the instruction they require” invokes a certain sense of western superiority over other cultures, fueling a sense of responsibility to further westernize countries and peoples deemed “developing” or “third world”. Even in America’s origins as settlements rooted in imperialism and colonialism, the notion of spreading westernization, be it through colonies or missionaries, continues to maintain its relevancy within this document as well as tensions rooted in this notion still present globally.

    7. Spanish

      Spanish is one of the branched groups that was planned to be taught at the school from the beginning. Like many other schools, UVA now offers this school in other countries were students are able to have have the full experience of a different culture. It's a great opportunity for students to come out of their comfort-zone and gain skills that will make them a more well-rounded human being. Not only is Spanish the only language the is taught abroad, but their are a wide variety for various people to choose from.

    8. proceeded to the second of the duties assigned to them, that of proposing a plan for its buildings; and they are of opinion that it should consist of distinct houses or pavilions, arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least, in each of which should be a lecturing room with from two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: that these pavilions should be united by a range of Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students only,

      Not only has the plan of the buildings, known as the pavilions located by the rotunda, shown to have an arrangement but I have also found it in old dorms. The way the buildings are structured and placed makes the quad the center of them all. This allows for all the people that are located in the dorms to have a centralized place where they can all come together and socialize. It is well known how old dorms are know to have a better sense of community. I wonder if new dorms are not as known for their sense of community because they were built later on and the people that made the plan didn't have the same goals in mind.

    9. fixing the number of professors they require, which we think should at present, be ten, limiting (except as to the professors who shall be first engaged in each branch) a maximum for their salaries, (which should be a certain but moderate subsistence, to be made up by liberal tuition fees, as an excitement to assiduity,)

      This section of text regarding professors' salaries is particularly intriguing because it discusses the fact that professors should be paid a moderate subsistence. If you look at the Cavalier Daily's report on salaries on some of our most distinguished professors are rather high and nowadays that is what I believe is what it takes to get some of the best minds to teach at our university and why the moderate subsistence clause of the Rockfish Gap Report is no longer relevant if we want to keep UVA's standing as one of the world's best universities. Professors want to teach at the universities that are the best deal for them which is why we can no longer just pay them just a mere living wage as in the time when this document was originally written.

    10. Ours on the same correct principle, should be adapted to our arms & warfare; and the manual exercise, military maneuvres, and tactics generally, should be the frequent exercises of the students, in their hours of recreation.

      The notion that the students of UVA in the early days should be preparing for military battle while they are in their hours of recreation. Nowadays these preparations would only be seen at traditional military academies like VMI and the Citadel. UVA is known for having ROTC programs but the amount of students that participate in them is not as high as it seems Jefferson wanted in the original proposal for the university.

  2. Nov 2017
    1. mensuration

      Honestly, I initially misread this as "menstruation" and I was thoroughly annoyed at the thought of women being blatantly excluded from this report, yet the founders stating that something that only applies to women would be important. My mind was bombarded with questions of why women could be deemed as lesser when these men are saying that menstruation is so very useful. Luckily though, my mind was simply playing tricks on me, and I can't be too angry at this particular line.

    2. Lexington in the County of Rockbridge, Staunton in the County of Augusta, and the Central college in the County of Albemarle:

      I am curious as to why these specific locations were initially considered in the placement of the University. Were there meanings behind them or correlations other than the heavy population of wealthy white people? It almost seems as if the founders simply pointed at some areas on a map and chose the one they deemed most suitable for the benefit of themselves and the caucasian folks that lived there.

    3. Ideology

      Another connection between the Declaration of Independence and this Rockfish Gap Report can be found here. The founders of this university, just as the founders of the United States did, prevented theocracy from entering their establishment. We read in Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen, how Thomas Jefferson made a conscious effort not to directly reference God or any religion in the Declaration of Independence. For the University of Virginia, this was also important as to create a community that valued education as suppose to a supreme being.

    4. education like private & individual concerns, should be left to private & individual effort;

      I enjoy how the founders of the University of Virginia are embracing the public university that they have created. Thomas Jefferson believed strongly that one of the fundamental roots of a Democracy was that its citizens must be well educated. I believe that this is the reason why he made the University of Virginia a public university. How was he to live with himself simultaneously arguing an educated society while in the mean time founding a private institution?

    5. To harmonize & promote the interests of agriculture, manufactures & commerce and by well informed views of political economy to give a free scope to the public industry.

      I believe this this quote is emblematic of the cultural that was present at the time of the University of Virginia's finding. In the 21st century, you rarely see direct references by Universities promoting agriculture. However there are still many similarities between the University's goals for how students will be prepared to participate in society that have remained to this day. These include: political involvement, industry, commerce (especially present with our commerce school at UVA) and manufacturing (which I believe now would be synonymous with engineering).

    6. healthiness of the site

      I wonder what he meant by "healthiness". Did he mean economically healthy? If so I can understand why he said he wanted the university to be in proximity to the white population. If we look at the socioeconomic status of the United States population at that time, unfortunately, any other race had little to no socioeconomic status. While I do not agree with how racism has lead to this type institutionalization, I believe this could be a possible reason for my Thomas Jefferson said this.

    7. In conformity with the principles of our constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing, with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment & surprise,

      For how much the university still follows this report it is intriguing to see where UVA has deviated from this report. I also find it funny how Thomas Jefferson said, “guarding from encroachment & surprise” and that was how the Chapel was eventually built.

    8. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties

      I find it hard not to see the irony in this regard. While the university has become more diverse, originally. it was only meant for white men. And yet, the report claimed that one of the primary objectives is "To improve by reading, his morals and faculties." It is immoral for be exclude someone based on their race or their gender. It is immoral to establish a supremacy of a certain race. It is immoral to belittle another human being. The ignorance that the founders had pertaining to this is just appalling.

    9. each of these was unexceptionable as to healthiness & fertility.

      It is interesting to note that they considered the condition of the land when deciding to build UVa. They took account of the environment in which the students would obtain their education. I would like to believe that, the founders understood the significance of the environment to the students' ability in retaining the education that they would receive.

    10. elements of navigation and Geography to a sufficient degree,

      Evidencing just how different a world we live in, the process of navigation (almost certainly with a physical map!) was once a topic covered by University professors. We can question whether a University education is still meant to supply young people with the practical everyday skills they will need when they enter the workforce. I often hear people complain that despite a multi-thousand dollar education, they don't feel prepared to navigate adult life (e.g. filing taxes, doing basic car repair, etc.) Should such practical knowledge be the responsibility of a place of higher learning? It's clear that on some level, the founders of UVA thought so, but they established the school in an age before YouTube tutorials.

    11. of the laws & obligations these infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics

      This section of the document was obviously penned––or at the very least heavily influenced by Jefferson himself. The understanding of theology as a more practical moralistic framework than an actual system of beliefs is exactly what you'd expect from a man that cut all the miracles out of the bible. Now that the college actually offers religious studies, Jefferson's theistic understanding of Christianity is probably offered as more of an alternative interpretation than the founding doctrine that it once was. I personally have not taken Can a Text be Ethical, but I would imagine that it offers some insight into the breadth of views that Christianity can be understood to cover.

    12. two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: that these pavilions should be united by a range of Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students

      The design that professors and students live under the same roof reflects Mr. Jefferson's intention to create opportunities of endless discussion between professors and students; however, the design that the "professor and his family" live with the students brings the personal, intimate layer. It implies that the connection between professors and students extends beyond merely academic learning and into daily, personal life. They may eat and have fun together. Students therefore become more like family members than merely students to the professors. Because of such an intimate connection, students have opportunities to learn life wisdom from the professors, as well as to have life-long mentors and friends.

    13. A Professor is proposed for antient Languages, the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, particularly, but these Languages being the foundation common to all the Sciences

      I find this sentence very intriguing because it basically mentions how Latin, Greek, and Hebrew are the foundation to all the aspects of science. In modern day, these languages mostly seen as "dead" languages. Even though the languages are used in certain contexts and regions on the Earth, they are not very present among many societies or communities. Also, a majority of students either study or have studied languages like Spanish, French, Arabic, or Chinese. A lot of students most likely have started learning a foreign language during middle or high school, and the selection was probably not as vast as the selection here at UVA, so some students may not have even be introduced to learning Latin, Greek, or Hebrew until they attended the university.

    14. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens

      If Thomas Jefferson were to return to UVA, I think the thing that he would be most surprised about is the amount of diversity among the university's students and professors. Compared to what the university used to be, UVA has students/professors of all colors, as well as female members. I find it interesting how they explicitly stated "men" when mentioning their citizens. It makes you wonder if they specifically included the word men to subtly express their desires for the population of UVA. In my opinion, I think they did include it on purpose since women or people of color were not the intended audience to read this document or even attend UVA for that matter.

  3. Oct 2017
    1. Medicine, when fully taught, is usually subdivided into several professorships, but this cannot well be without the accessory of an hospital, where the student can have the benefit of attending clinical lectures & of assisting at operations of surgery.

      Even back then, the very beginnings of aspects of the University, such as the hospital, already began taking form. This further pays testament to the longevity of the University and the long-term goals of learning in an environment where there are opportunities to study any subject. Aside from the educational purpose, I believe that the hospital serves a practical purpose as well. This is stated in the quote. This effectively added another dimension to the University that would make it more self-contained, making it so students and staff need not leave grounds to receive medical care, thereby creating a greater sense of tight-knit community.

    2. it is difficult to foresee what may be the extent of this school

      Looking back, it is clear now how the vision for the University changed over time. 200 years prior it must have been difficult to envision how UVA would become a center of learning that would encompass a plethora of different subjects. By blatantly stating that it would be difficult to assess the purpose of the school, the founders left it open-ended, laying the grounds for adaption and evolution. I believe that this willingness to let the school develop on its own accord, allowed UVA to become such a successful college.

    1. that of proposing a plan for its buildings; and they are of opinion that it should consist of distinct houses or pavilions, arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least, in each of which should be a lecturing room with from two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: that these pavilions should be united by a range of Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students only, this provision being deemed advantageous to morals, to order, & to uninterrupted study; and that a passage of some kind under cover from the weather should give a communication along the whole range.

      Considering the size of the University today, which is far larger than a lawn surrounded by buildings, it shows the evolution that many of America's constructs have undergone. Now the University is so large it takes me about 20 minutes to get to the lawn from my living area, and I live with 6 people, not just one roommate. Also, the conditions the report describes are very similar to the lawn rooms that upperclassmen students can obtain, which is a funky little tie to the past. All in all, the changes of UVA over the past 200 years is just an example of the vast and rapid development of America.

    2. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties.

      The idea to improve someone’s moral and faculties by reading is truly a logical one. However, it was clear that it was not the case. The university’s aim of improving someone’s moral tremendously failed in the past when it refused to accept people of color in this school, when it refused to accept females in this school, and when it tried to do whatever it could to ensure that only white men were able to attend this school. Thus, it begs the question, what kind of moral did they have? And was their morals worth being improved or they should have been abolished and changed?

    3. as by law required

      Personally, I feel it is rather odd that they had to meet by law to discuss school matter. Does it mean that they wouldn't have met if it had not been mandatory? And why was that the case? It seems like, prior to the law, they were not willing to meet up and discuss the education of the school. Hence, the quality of education back then was questionable.

    4. 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.

      What struck me most about these five lines is the repetition of male pronouns such as “he,” “his,” and “him.” I think it is hypocritical of the author’s goal of giving “every citizen” the right to an education. The reference of only male pronouns suggests that females were not considered citizens, which simply isn’t true. On a more positive note, it seems that the authors’ of this document are placing great importance on individual development, which can be seen through phrases such as the “transaction of his own business.” The word “own” especially conveys this message and is reflective of the growing interest in capitalism and individualism during that time. It was believed that the focus on the individual would indirectly benefit society further. But could it be that this emphasis on the individual caused one to be more oblivious of social issues such as racism and sexism? It is important to note that at the time only white males were considered to be individuals, not women nor African Americans.

    5. In this enquiry they supposed that the governing considerations should be the healthiness of the site, the fertility of the neighbouring country, and it’s centrality to the white population of the whole state:

      This sentence stuck out to me because it reminded me of a discussion I had in my high school anthropology class: we were discussing why certain skin tones were more favorable than others across cultures. One of the reasons offered here in the Rockfish document is that the color white represents "healthiness." This idea was not only apparent in the United States, but is a widely popular idea in many Asian cultures even today. According to these cultures, white suggests cleanliness and a sense of purity. But where did such ideas come from? It can be difficult to further investigate this because it is highly offensive. As an Indian American, I found this line challenging to read because it suggests that any other skin tone is inferior or unhealthy. That is a lot to process. Despite this difficulty, I do find it to be imperative to explore where such ideas derived from to prevent the popularity of such beliefs in the future. One theory we discussed in my anthropology class last year is that people favor skin tones of those in power. There was indeed a time in which darker skin was seen as superior and even today, tan skin is becoming more and more popular. But at the time the Rockfish Gap Report was written, it was certainly the white population that was in power, and due to this power, they felt that they were more entitled to a higher education. This does not mean their actions were justifiable whatsoever but it could provide insight as to why the authors believed the things they did.

    6. And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      I feel this is one way that education at modern universities is changing in a negative way. I find that this style of education is very important in allowing people to have a diverse selection of reference points. However, with the raising costs of education it seems that people are less willing to explore their options and are just picking the degree that would yield the largest return on investment. As bgoodwyn said it is great that the College Fellows are using the core principles of Jefferson to create a curriculum that is diverse.

    7. 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.

    8. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life:

      In the Rockfish gap report, the writers have to justify the relevance of mathematical and physical sciences in a holistic education. However, in the intensely, stem-based environment of today’s society, the notion of advocating in favor of these fields strikes a rather amusing chord. With the rise of technological advancements at a near exponential rate, a focus on STEM education has taken the global community by storm, which unfortunately results in the lack of support, and, more concretely, lack of funding for the arts. Yet, as laid out by President John F. Kennedy, “this country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.” Mirrored in the ideals of the university, the writers continue to solidify the importance of a well-rounded education, pushing the importance of both scientific thought and artistic expression, and the value in encouraging growth in both - a personal mission of mine.

    9. It is supposed probable that a building of somewhat more size in the middle of the grounds may be called for in time, in which may be rooms for religious worship under such impartial regulations as the visitors shall prescribe, for public examinations, for a Library, for the schools of music, drawing, and other associated purposes.

      One of Thomas Jefferson's main goals for the University was that he wanted it to be centered around learning and education. Back then, around the time this document was written, most schools had a church as the center of their campus, but Thomas Jefferson set a library as the center point on Grounds to symbolize the importance of learning. Other Universities had churches in the as the focal point because, most likely, the school in question was based to revolve around a particular religion such as Christianity. Thomas Jefferson did not want religion to be what fueled the University of Virginia since he viewed all religions on the same level, and he very much valued the rewards that knowledge provides us, and a library was a perfect symbol to express that belief.

    10. centrality to the white population of the whole state

      At the time that this document was written, readers would not glance over this statement twice. However, having read this sentence in the modern day time, it really does not sit well with me. This is basically the first instance in the writing that states the the University of Virginia is going to be a school meant for the white population. This phrase essentially declares that UVA should be built in Virginia where the most white people live, since that is their main target "audience". Although this statement does not necessarily seem hostile or obviously racist, the intent and goal behind it is, in fact, discriminatory. Albeit, the presence of this sentence is not surprising considering who wrote the document and what time frame it was written in.

    11. 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

    12. the incalculable advantage of training up able counsellors to administer the affairs of our Country in all its departments, Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary, and to bear their proper share in the councils of Our National Government; nothing, more than education, adorning the prosperity, the power and the happiness of a nation.

      A fundamental part of higher education laid out in the Rockfish gap report was its role in building and molding “good men,” and ultimately, the citizenry of America. Even as many of the founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, have reflected in their plans for the newborn country, they championed an educated population in the form of an electoral college to elect the country’s executive, in fear of the direct election of a tyrant. However, the access to higher education was limited to only a singular demographic: white, landowning men. While ensuring educated decisions on the fate of the country is a reasonable, and respectable notion, the very barrier to access to education for underrepresented groups primes the ruling class to be solely dominated by a white, male populace, therefore laying the foundations for centuries of control.

    13. for altho the act authorised & required them to receive any voluntary contributions whether conditional or absolute, which might be offered thro them to the President & Directors of the literary fund, for the benefit of the University, yet they did not consider this as establishing an auction, or as pledging the location to the highest bidder.

      I would personally be interested to know if UVA is still required to accept any voluntary contributions, and, if not, for how long this was a policy. It might be the reason that certain extremist groups were able to contribute to UVA so much. Of course, that is assuming that whoever was in charge of accepting and regulating such contributions didn't identify with said groups.

    14. To harmonize & promote the interests of agriculture, manufactures & commerce and by well informed views of political economy to give a free scope to the public industry

      In a way, this furthers the Democratic-Republican view of limited government. The writers specify "free scope to public industry" as a way of promoting non-politically-involved enterprises. I personally think the "political economy" part really just means economy in modern terms.

    15. But in this point of View the Anglo-Saxon is of peculiar value. We have placed it among the modern languages because it is in fact that which we speak, in the earliest form in which we have knowledge of it. It has been undergoing, with time, those gradual changes which all languages, antient and modern, have experienced: and even now, needs only to be printed in the Modern character and Orthography, to be intelligible in a considerable degree to an English reader.

      I guess this would be considered "Old English" to most, but I'm pretty certain that, historically, this is considered to be within the category of English that we now speak today. I've heard that even the language of Shakespeare is actually considered "New/Modern English" in most regards, despite it sounding very foreign at times. I wonder how vocabulary/grammar would have begun to shift differently in the States compared to Britain, as we now see that many common words in the UK are quite different from the USA, but even common words are spelled differently.

    16. $3.500 each

      Adjusted for inflation this would be around $55,635.64. This seems extremely expensive considering Thomas Jefferson's goal to have an educated populous. This combined with the language in this text regarding race shows that those who attended from the inception of the university were upper-class white Americans.

    17. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing & numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration (useful in so many callings) and the outlines of geography and history, and this brings us to the point at which are to commence the higher branches of education, of which the legislature require the development: those for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      From this paragraph we can understand the two "pyramids" in the founders of the school. The first pyramid is the pyramid of knowledge structure in every human. To be competent to serve as legislators or judges, one must be educated broadly from primary schools (like the base of pyramid), and then build the "high branches of education" upon it. Founders understood that without a broad base, elite education is useless. Another pyramid was the pyramid of the structure, as the founders perceived that the "prosperity & individual happiness" depend on the elite class (statesmen, legislators & judges). It was the class structure like pyramid that gave them the perception that the top part of society can lead the rest. Through these two pyramids we can try to imagine the society back then that emphasizes "structure", which is in sheer contrast to our leveling society now.

    18. Law of Nature & Nations

      Here, we see the University offering study of 'Natural Law'---an intersection of politics, psychology, philosophy, and a dash of spirituality that was wildly popular with the founding fathers. The basic premise is that the "nature" of humanity causes us to demand governance and order. The founding documents of the US are heavily reliant on natural law. Today, does the University––and education in general–– highlight these philosophies clearly enough, or does a merely cursory knowledge of the thinking behind some of our most important documents fuel historical and political ignorance?

    19. to the Virginia General Assembly

      It's vital to remember when reading this document that while it has no legal basis in and of itself, it is being submitted to the State Assembly. This has a number of important implications, but its most noticeable effect is on the diction that the document uses. The language is formal and the sentences are lengthy and self-referential, both of which can give rise to considerable confusion in a modern reading.

    20. On the condition that the central College shall be made the site of the University, its whole property real & personal in possession, or in action is offered. This consists of a parcel of land of 47 acres whereon the buildings of the College are begun, one pavilion and its appendix of dormitories, being already far advanced, and with one other pavilion, & equal annexation of dormitories, being expected to be compleated during the present season. Of another parcel of 153 acres near the former, and including a considerable eminence very favorable for the erection of a future observatory.

      Before moving to UVA I didn't really know much about the school. i knew it was one of the best public schools in the nation, yet that was it. As I began to research more of the school, I became more and more convinced of its greatness. I wasn't able to see the school until move in day which I was really nervous on doing because I didn't know if I's like the environment. When I was finally able to walk around and look at the school, I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the structures and set up of the school. I can still remember the first time I saw the pavilions. I wasn't sure what they were but I know today that UVa has kept the rotunda and surrounding pavilions as a central place of grounds where students can spend time as a community.

    21. A Professor is proposed for antient Languages, the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, particularly, but these Languages being the foundation common to all the Sciences, it is difficult to foresee what may be the extent of this school.

      In this section they mention the use of languages such as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew as the "foundation common to all Sciences." It is very true many things have been translated over the years for the purpose of learning and the continuation of modifying techniques of various fields, not only science. Through reading this, it was brought up to me that in earlier times a lot of people learned languages because it was necessary not much because of a want. Nowadays, I see more and more people striving away from the need and pushing themselves to learn a second language because they want to. There are many languages being taught at various Universities, not only these three, showing the great changes our world has come about in these 200 years.

  4. Sep 2017
    1. after declaring by law that certain sciences shall be taught in the university

      The impact of creating a truly all-encompassing place of learning was a relatively unique concept at the time, especially under these circumstances. Sciences in particular fall in line with the enlightenment concepts pertinent to prominent figures and ideologies of the time. The empirical measurements and hard facts that are characteristic of studying the sciences are a perfect exemplification of how humanity progresses towards a greater understanding of the natural world.

    2. ”In this enquiry they supposed that the governing considerations should be the healthiness of the site, the fertility of the neighbouring country, and it’s centrality to the white population of the whole state

      While many people may comment on the racism this sentence implies, claiming that everyone would make mistakes, it is important to note that under the social context at that time, the difference between races was not considered racism; people probably did not know what racism is. Racism is based on the assumption of egalitarian society, while at that time people were born to believe that other races were inferior. It was normal to believe African Americans were inferior; it was eccentric to believe that every one was equal (women, Native Americans, African Americans). At that time, discussion of racism would simply be INSIGNIFICANT. It is just like we believe that robots are produced to serve humans; it may be considered extremely racists hundreds of years later when robots are considered equal to human, but this conclusion is based on the social norms in that far future. Similarly, to understand 19th century United States, we need to put down the lens of modern social norms, because only in this way can we understand their perspectives; otherwise, we are rejecting values away.

    3. have harnessed them to the yoke of his labours, and effected the great blessings of moderating his own, of accomplishing what was beyond his feeble force, & of extending the comforts of life to a much enlarg[ed] circle, to those who had before known it’s necessaries only.

      Mankind was living under relatively the same conditions in 1500 CE as they were in 1500 BC. Newton changed that. (Referenced from the book 100 Most Influential People) The writers of this document are honoring specific advancements in knowledge by teaching them at the university. In truth, the Board is expressing their hope that through the establishment of this institution they may be able to snowball this effect, further increasing the pace with which humanity can understand their world.

    4. The considerations which have governed the specification of languages to be taught by the professor of Modern Languages

      This attentiveness to world languages at the time indicates a strong awareness by the Board of Commissioners as to the global status of the early United States. Despite becoming a self-sovereign nation and establishing a proper constitution, the US was just a fledgling nation on the world stage. The US as a super power wasn't even imaginable at that point, since the nation had so much catching-up to do in relation to the real centers of power at the time. The commissioners envisioned their system of education from a highly grounded and pragmatic perspective.

    5. fruit of the alliance between church and State

      In the previous lines, the founders of the university make it clear they are interested in re-designing the future, not simply repeating the mistakes of the past. This line displays one of Jefferson's great complaints about religion: that it inspires adherence to the status quo, and discourages dissent and curiosity. The University is meant to be a platform for change and advancement.

    6. But in this point of View the Anglo-Saxon is of peculiar value. We have placed it among the modern languages because it is in fact that which we speak, in the earliest form in which we have knowledge of it.

      Clearly, languages are an extremely important component of a well-rounded education from the perspective of the members who signed the document. However, I found it fascinating how Anglo-Saxon (Old English) was chosen to be a part of certain curriculums because it is so difficult to interpret. Understanding our roots, whether in language or culture, is certainly an essential part of growing as a society, so I understand the importance of studying Anglo-Saxon, but I wonder what type of applications there were for the language aside from studying history.