4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. We should be far too from the discouraging persuasion, that man is fixed, by the law of his nature, at a given point: that his improvement is a chimæra, and the hope delusive of rendering ourselves wiser, happier or better than our forefathers were. As well might it be urged that the wild & uncultivated tree, hitherto yielding sour & bitter fruit only, can never be made to yield better

      Perhaps the most eloquent moment of the report thus far, the founders of UVA acknowledge the capacity for everyone to learn, and reasons to think those less "cultivated" will indeed continue to produce "sour & bitter fruit" unless a quality education changes their fortunes. The founders emphasize that man is NOT fixed, which ties into the psychological concept of a fixed vs growth mindset (of which growth correctly states that intelligence is not fixed and is hugely subject to change. The fact that the founders, as expressed above, consider the unfair advantage of those who can capitalize on their "private & individual effort" and push the argument of a public institution accessible to even those less cultivated, is a testament to the forward thinking and encouragement of freedom that TJ and UVA are known for.

    2. see the wonderful advances in the sciences & arts which have been made within that period. Some of these have rendered the elements themselves subservient to the purposes of man, have harnessed them to the yoke of his labours, and effected the great blessings of moderating his own

      The founders here point out the extraordinary advances in academia in the past 50 years, an era referred to now as The Enlightenment. The authors have attributed these successes to people harnessing more of "the purposes of man" largely through education, and by doing so, improving comforts of life as well as making the bare necessities easier to acquire. The founders have found a good amount of truth in the Enlightenment, and (later on) will systematically place these positive ideas into the conception of the university. This is all under the premise that things are getting better, and will continue to do so by creating new, better systems by which to live.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. These innocent arts furnish amusement & happiness to those who, having time on their hands, might less inoffensively employ it

      I find this language to be quite sad honestly. As a literary man I don't see why he seemingly belittles the arts here as "innocent" and referring to people who "less inoffensively employ it." Strange how he kind of plays down the importance of art, but it makes sense him being a political figure and all and him being focused more on legislation. Plus uh art does way more than furnish amusement and happiness

    2. they are sensible that the advantages of well directed education, moral, political & economical are truly above all estimate

      Jefferson and the other authors are banking on the positive returns of education and all that the topic implies, they are sure of the benefit that will come from the university and that it should even exceed expectations "above all estimate." I really like this line as a transition from regarding the doubts and reasoning favorably with all the possibilities because this show of confidence implies that all is worth it, bad and good. The sense of education to which Jefferson is aspiring to is that which knows no bounds, is hard to define from day to day, and is so innovative and successful that it shall truly always be a sensible deal to keep such an institution around.