4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. The advantages of this plan are, greater security against fire & infection; tranquillity & comfort to the Professors, and their families thus insulated; retirement to the Students, and the admission of enlargement to any degree to which the institution may extend in future times.

      Jefferson mentions multiple reasons for his design of the layout of the buildings for the University; "greater security against fire and infection, tranquillity and comfort to the professors, and their family thus insulated; retirement to the students, and the admission of enlargement to any degree to which the institution may extend in future times." The last point is one that shows the expectation for growth and improvement of the university. Although the university upon first arrival was merely what we call the lawn today, it has grown and expanded into multiple halls, dormitories, and dining halls. Not only has the physicality of the University grown, but also the social climate and environment (which may or may not have been included in Jefferson's expectations.) For example, today, sports are more evident and important in the study body. Fraternities were introduced in 1853. African Americans were integrated into the student body in the 1950s and women in the 1970s. It is very interesting to see how much the university has changed in terms of the physicality of its campus; 'grounds', as well as the social aspects of the university.

    2. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.

      In this statement I would like to criticize the word "every" which is by definition meant to be inclusive of all things (or people on this case). Despite the dictionary definition of this word, Jefferson alters the definition to be exclusive for white males. Although now we can understand that this definition was very exclusive and actually defied the definition of "every" citizen, in 1818, it was assumed that "every citizen" only meant white males. This idea is truest legitimatized through the acceptance policies of the university until around 1950s when they accepted the first African American student. Even then, it wasn't until the 70s when women were integrated into the university. This is an example of how flexible language is. Throughout time, as a society, we have almost subliminally changed the meaning of the word "every," and it has physically affected the diversity and social climate of the university.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. Education generates habits of application, order and the love of virtue; and controuls, by the force of habit, any innate obliquities in our moral organization.

      An obliquity is anything that deviates from moral rectitude, according to Merriam-Webster. In this sense, it implies the importance of being educated in correspondence to moral standards or truths in order to reject immoral ideals. When moral and social standards are that white people are superior to minorities or black people, it associates education with these ideals, and thus leads to the spread of this ideology. I find the statement to be ironic because of the immorality of unequal rights and slavery, although they were treated as common and unquestionable practices. I think that this claim of education is still very true because education does lead to habits of application. The things we are taught usually impact our implicit bias and social understanding, which is why it is important ensure we are teaching racial equality.

    2. which banishing all arbitrary & unnecessary restraint on individual action shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

      My first thought is about what “equal rights” means. It is implied in this passage (in 1818) that equal rights are guaranteed not for everyone, but white men. Although the passage itself does not explicitly write that certain groups are excluded from this statement, historical context in 1818 has actually shaped the definition of the word “us” in this passage. At the same time, the word “another” ambiguously implies a person who is ‘the same’. Automatically, this excludes people (minorities/ blacks/ women) who are not a part of the “us” that is used earlier in the statement. Language is interesting in this sense because it reveals what a great impact historical context and social norms have on the way a sentence can be read and interpreted. Over time, maybe the meaning of this sentence has changed in the viewpoint of the person who is reading it, but the words are in fact the same. What has changed are social truths and historical context.