4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. 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. 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.

      This reminds me of the mission statement in businesses and organizations. It’s clearly laying out the objectives of what they want students to learn through this university education. While secondary education prepares you for college, college itself is much more long term and supposed to help prepare you for a job and for life. Furthermore, the sentence structure has a patriotic undertone with the emphasis on rights (constitution). The line ‘to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed’ is interesting because it is easy to see their concern a student’s social standing. This depicts their want for students to do well and have a good position in society in a way that will better reflect the University. We see this even now, when UVA advertises its alumni being in high standing positions around the world. ‘To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express & preserve his ideas, his contracts & accounts in writing’ shows UVA’s dedication to preserving ideas in history by wanting to keep everything in writing. In another section of this document, they were looking down on indigenous populations for being backwards thinkers, but they are willing to preserve their own history and culture.

    2. 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 passage is focusing on always looking forward in terms of society and civilization, instead of mourning for the past (in relation to the indigenous people at the time). For example, this may translate to someone today thinking civilization should go back to the way it was before cell phones ‘ruined everything’. This passage is against that idea, because everyone should try to better society. However, this makes me think of the argument between STEM and Arts courses. While one shouldn’t stay stuck in time and constantly wish for the past, that does not mean they should ignore it. As we often hear, ‘learning history helps from repeating past mistakes.’ The way this sentence is phrased makes it seem like looking at the past has a negative connotation. There should be a balance of innovation and industrialization, as well as truly appreciating and learning from the past. Even if we might have more advancements and technology in this age, we still have a lot to learn from the past. Thus, the way the previous few sentences were framed denouncing indigenous people was uncalled for and only took away from the argument.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. To improve by reading, his morals and faculties

      This reminds me of a moment in our engagement class when we were asked, ‘Are your moral compasses fixed before you enter college?’ Many people believed it was, but we soon came to realize that our moral compass is fluid, always changing as we gain more experiences and go through life. We are currently reading the New Testament, and how it was used over the years to argue both for and against slavery, temperance, and even the Holocaust. I think it’s an extremely important skill to be able to critically read texts, and understand them so as not to be swayed by the first person that cites a text. I think Jefferson wanted students to be well-read and knowledgeable for this reason. While it could be argued that reading does not improve morality, it does give readers a better perspective on the world, and thus helps them make more informed opinions and decisions.

    2. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds cultivate their morals, & instil into them the precepts of virtue & order. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life: And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      The line ‘developing the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds, cultivate their morals’ stands out to me. While today’s school systems and societies do try to focus on the betterment of individuals, I think students are too caught up in the fast-paced reality of life, where the purpose is not to learn, but get ahead of their peers. Instead of promoting a collaborative mindset that would be helpful to their future, students are more concerned with beating out their competition. I think the New College Curriculum really aligns with the principles that Jefferson intended from UVA courses when establishing it. It teaches students to work collaboratively and engage in thought-provoking discussions. The best way to have a good understanding is to embrace each other’s opinions and ideas, stemming from different cultures and backgrounds, to truly give us a well-rounded perspective. What is the purpose of learning on your own when knowledge can be shared and built upon by the community where everyone can benefit?