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Jeffersons Views on Education Essay

Essay Topic:

Thomas Jefferson believed that universal education would have to precede universal suffrage. The ignorant, he argued, were incapable of self-government. But he had profound faith in the reasonableness and teachableness of the masses and in their collective wisdom when taught. He believed that the schools should teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, the children should learn about Grecian, roman, English, and American History.
Jefferson believed the nation needed public schools scattered around, for all male citizens to receive free education. By 1789, thefirst law was passed in Massachusetts to reaffirm the colonial laws by which towns were obligated to support a school. This law was ignored. Private schools were opened only to those who could afford to pay them. In the middle states religious groups opened most schools. Not many schools or institutions were opened to the nonwealthy people. The women, blacks, and Indians were not able to go to school. It was not until the early 1900's that the Nation began making academies for females, because government thought that they needed to be educated mothers to educate their children. Jefferson believed in the "Republican Mother". Later, many 19th century reformers believed in the power of education to reform and redeem- to release a blame or debt, to buy back- "backward" people. As a result, they generated a growing interest in Indian Education. Jefferson and his followers believed that the Native Americans were "noble savages", they hoped that schooling the Indians in white culture would "uplift"- to improve the spiritual, social, or intellect condition- the tribes. But the states and local government did little to support education. Unlike the women and Indians, blacks had no support at all. There were no efforts to educate enslaved African Americans, mostly because their owner

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