April 12, 2012
250 Years after Completing Studies at the College of William & Mary, Jefferson Blogs on the State of Education
Two hundred and fifty years ago, Thomas Jefferson, who was born on April 13, 1743, completed his formal education at the College of William & Mary. Are his ideas on education relevant today? A blog on Colonial Williamsburg’s website posts a quote about education from Jefferson’s writings every week, allowing for online discussion of the third president’s ideas today.
The blog can be accessed at http://whatsnew.history.org/topics/jefferson/, with visitors to the site invited to share opinions on Jefferson's philosophies. In letters to such Founding Fathers as George Wythe and James Madison and writings on the state of the commonwealth, Jefferson ponders questions such as what students should read, the importance of public libraries and whether all people should pay taxes to support public education.
“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty,” Jefferson wrote to James Madison, December 20, 1787. Does education protect liberty?
Past blog subjects have included Jefferson’s thoughts on war, the military draft, the meaning of the Constitution, resistance to authority and the accountability of public officials. Quotes from Jefferson’s writings on education will be added through the end of the summer when Mr. Jefferson will turn his thoughts to the upcoming presidential election – a subject certain to attract lively response and debate.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates its commitment to expanding its thought-provoking programming as well as its dedication to cultural and historical authenticity on-site and online through the preservation, restoration and presentation of 18th-centry Williamsburg and the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding principles. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com.