4 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. French is the language of general intercourse among nations, and as a depository of human Science is unsurpassed by any other language living or dead:

      I found it interesting yet entirely unsurprising that French was the first and most important language to be addressed in this explanation of the curriculum. It is explained that it is so valued by the University because it was used so much by other nations throughout the world. While this may certainly be true, I think the emphasis placed on French may stem a least a little bit from Jefferson's widely-known personal love of France and French culture, and thus his belief that Americans should replicate more of the French ways of living.

    2. To these should be added the arts, which embellish life, dancing music & drawing; the last more especially, as an important part of military education.

      I thought this sentence was interesting both in the idea that so much emphasis was placed on education in the arts, given that this is something that many schools struggle with today, and in the explanation of reasoning for this emphasis. He mentions that drawing is especially is important because it has practical implication in the military. This, especially in the context of the preceding content of the paragraph, highlights the fact that much of this curriculum was built around raising men to be useful and tactful in future military careers. At such an integral time in America's history, it was important that they establish a strong military, and Jefferson's strategy for doing so was to begin training and academic teaching early in one's education.

  2. Sep 2017
    1. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours?

      This question clearly reflects the idea that education is power, and that the educated, "civilized" men at this time felt a level of primacy and superiority over their uneducated neighbors. Although this particular statement is more specifically directed towards what the writers likely viewed as barbaric incivility of the Native Americans, this attitude of superiority can be seen in other contexts throughout history. One example, more directly related to the power bestowed by education, is voting rights. In this time, only white male property owners were extended the right to vote. Because these were often the most highly educated people, this system (more or less directly) disallowed the less educated population from becoming politically active. This in turn enforced the power of the educated and worked to ensure that the interests of this select group of people would be favored in government. Whether or not this was the direct intent of the statements in this document is largely difficult to conclude, however it is interesting to note nonetheless. Source: The Challenge of Democracy: Government in America https://books.google.com/books?id=VQ_iZMofnl0C&pg=PA207&lpg=PA207#v=onepage&q&f=false

    2. Projectiles, a leading branch of the Military art Military Architecture, includes Fortification, another branch of that art

      It is interesting here to note the emphasis placed on military education. In this time period, it was not incredibly common to have formalized military education, as many men who would become leading officers were self-educated. Reasoning for this inclusion of military subjects in the original UVA curriculum could include multiple things. First, history suggests Thomas Jefferson's interest in improving and expanding access to military education, as evidenced by his involvement with founding the United States Military Academy in West Point in 1802, several years prior to this report. Additionally, this curriculum was likely also in response to George Washington's efforts to formalize military education in the years following the Revolutionary War. Thus, the inclusion of military mathematics and architecture reflects the priorities of the time, and of Thomas Jefferson specifically, to better prepare young men for military involvement or careers. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/military-education/