4 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. Also the whole of his Slaves amounting to 57 in number.

      This sentence really shows the dichotomy of the present and the past. It is clearly demonstrated that the slaves are not seen as people, but are instead seen as property. The word "also," while being used to show the end of a list, also subtly says that slaves are afterthoughts, even when speaking of properties.

    2. The 1st. duty enjoined on them was to enquire & report a site in some convenient & proper part of the state for an University, to be called the “University of Virginia.”

      I find it very intriguing that the very first task of the commissioners was to look for a site for the school, rather than going over the ideals, values, and goals that are mentioned later on in the report. I read that Jefferson wanted the site to be so beautiful and the school to gain such notoriety that people from even out of state would "drink of the cup of knowledge". Having the physical site in mind could have given the commissioners the motivation and inspiration to set values for the future university.

    3. virtue to others & of happiness within themselves

      Aristotle wrote in Niccomachean Ethics that living virtuously is the key to happiness. Therefore, its especially intriguing to see virtue and happiness mentioned together but not defining each other in the university's objective. The separation is important in distinguishing that Aristotle's understanding of happiness is not the only one there is. Classically, there are many views from many schools: stoics, hedonists, Buddhists, ect. In fact, there is a general lack of clarity as to what happiness is in our collective understanding as a society. The lack of clarification as to what happiness is and the distinction between the two shows that although the university (and perhaps Thomas Jefferson) intends each student to find their own meaning of happiness while retaining the essential quality of being virtuous.

    4. observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      By observe, it is unclear whether a student is expected to passively notice or comply with the social relations he is exposed to during his time. Both of which are completely valid definitions and applications of the word "observe" in the dictionary. Of course the student could observe social issues at the time such as slavery and women's inequality; However, if he does not act on observed social issues that do not affect him, then did the institution fail to instill a complete education in him (as "education generates a habit of application") or has he failed as a student? Whether a student in an institution is being taught to observe to develop theories which lead him to a better understanding of social relations or observe to act on his set of beliefs is still relevant today. Of course institutions of higher learning today are more explicit about teaching students to employ action, be proactive, but the discussion of practicality and usefulness of information taught or developed at universities still revolve around this one objective.