Quote of the moment: Jefferson on public education (again), “Preach . . . a crusade against ignorance”


Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Anaheim, California, circa 1940

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Anaheim, California, circa 1940; image from the Anaheim Public Library, via the California Digital Library, University of California

Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people.  Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, & nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.

To George Wythe, from Paris, August 13, 1786

Excerpted here from The Quotable  Jefferson, collected and edited by John Kaminski, Princeton University Press, 2006, p. 84
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2 Responses to Quote of the moment: Jefferson on public education (again), “Preach . . . a crusade against ignorance”

  1. Hank Roberts says:

    Tom Paine:

    “… Whatever wisdom constituently is, it is like a seedless plant; it may be reared when it appears, but it cannot be voluntarily produced. There is always a sufficiency somewhere in the general mass of society for all purposes; but with respect to the parts of society, it is continually changing its place. It rises in one to-day, in another to-morrow, and has most probably visited in rotation every family of the earth, and again withdrawn.

    “As this is in the order of nature, the order of government must necessarily follow it, or government will, as we see it does, degenerate into ignorance.

    ” … by giving to genius a fair and universal chance; … by collecting wisdom from where it can be found.

    “… As it is to the advantage of society that the whole of its faculties should be employed, the construction of government ought to be such as to bring forward, by a quiet and regular operation, all that extent of capacity which never fails to appear in revolutions.”
    —————————————–
    Tom Paine, The Rights of Man

    http://www.ushistory.org/Paine/rights/c2-03.htm

    Like

  2. Nick K says:

    To quote part of Jefferson: of what will be paid to kings, priests, & nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.

    And lets see…what party is against public education? What party preaches ignorance?

    Thats right the Republican party…the party of “priests, hopeful Kings and wannabe nobility.”

    Like

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