4 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2017
    1. unnecessary restraint on individual action shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another

      I keep returning to this part of the passage, more so for its current relevance than anything else. Especially in this past school year, the University has made a distinct effort to allow different opinions to be voiced. While this lassiez-faire sentiment fits with the first part of this clause, interpretation of the condition that people should be left to do "whatever does not violate the equal rights of another" facilitates room for a bit more discussion (if not controversy). When UVA doesn't aggressively and actively prevent hateful speech, not only in the case of the August protests but also in the multiple situations in which hateful remarks towards religious or ethic minorities have been posted/written around grounds, then how are the equal rights of those minority students being protected? As the one who famously changed Locke's natural right to property into a right to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration, Jefferson demonstrated if nothing else hope for the future that people would retain the freedom to pursue happiness as they wish. I'd be curious to see how he would act today to protect speech and/or support students in the 21st century who aren't made to consistently feel welcomed/safe at the University.

    2. those for example which are to form the statesmen, legislators & judges, on whom public prosperity, & individual happiness are so much to depend.

      This paragraph especially seems to support the idea that higher education was intended to be a public good. While at the time it seemed obvious that providing opportunities would better a society by ensuring a better informed electorate and more competent future leaders, perspective on universities today has sharply changed. In modern society, college is frequently treated as a private good, assuming that the success of the individual takes priority. Higher education is now often reduced to merely a financial investment in which the return is a career. It would benefit many people today to look back at documents like these and consider the intrinsic value of a liberal arts approach to education not simply for the individual, but for the functioning of our democratic society as well.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. which should be a certain but moderate subsistence, to be made up by liberal tuition fees, as an excitement to assiduity

      There is potentially significant foresight revealed in Jefferson's input on the salary of professors. He suggests a "certain" salary, which shows cognizance and care regarding the well being of employees. With a contentious movement for a livable minimum wage today, I wonder how he would apply this sentiment to the variety of employees at UVA besides the elite professors. It is also worth considering that he intends to provide professors a stable and livable wage, yet had no intention to exhibit this basic compassion when it came to the people who actually built the University. Today, UVA staff members who work in custodial and dining services generally receive Virginia's minimum wage, while professors often are granted a high salary. This seems to create a wicked parallel that I find worth discussion and further analysis; perhaps including research on how workers were initially paid/treated at UVA.

  3. Sep 2017
    1. 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

      As noted by others on this document, there is a strong sentiment of white superiority in this part of the report. The present state of indigenous Americans is referred to as one of "barbarism and wretchedness." While the explicit racism throughout the report definitely was apparent to me, I was more struck by the fact that in this part they seem to be condemning a simplistic lifestyle. The irony here is that Jefferson has become well known today as a historical figure who supported an agrarian lifestyle, especially when compared to Hamiltonian Federalism. Here, the writing is indicative that he conversely believes the lifestyle of following our ancestors (and functioning in a hunting/gathering society in the case of the indigenous Americans he describes) is insufficient. Instead, he condemns the notion of looking back to the past, and instead encourages an education that will force citizens to consider future intellectual pursuit. I am curious to see how his other writings support his simultaneous support for an agrarian democracy and condemnation of the "barbarism" or simplicity of indigenous American life.