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tv   Andrew O Shaughnessy The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind  CSPAN  September 8, 2022 3:50am-4:55am EDT

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nearly two decades before the official founding of the university of virginia thomas jefferson wrote to artist charles wilson peale in january 1802 i have for a considerable time been meditating a plan of a general university for the state of virginia on the most extensive and liberal scale that our circumstances would call for jefferson considered the university to be one of his three greatest achievements with the declaration of independence and the virginia statute for religious freedom. in his post-presidential years he was able to devote himself to fulfilling the dream of an academical village. today, we'll hear from andrew j
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o'shaughnessy about jefferson's aspirations for his university. his book is a twin biography of jefferson and retirement and of the university of virginia's first years in seeking to understand figures from the past the ability to read their own recorded thoughts is immensely valuable today's author andrew j. o'shaughnessy used founders online in researching. this book founders online a website hosted by the national archives through the national historical publications and records commission has transcriptions of thousands of documents written by and to the nation's founders. jefferson's letter to peel is easily accessible on founders online and that portal also gives us the context for the title of today's book. in an 1820 letter at the end of a proud description of the new university jefferson told us correspondent. this institution will be based on the limitable freedom of the human mind. for here. we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead nor
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to tolerate any error. so long as reason is left free to combat it. andrew jayashaughnessy is vice president of the thomas jefferson foundation at monticello and saunders director of the robert h smith international center for jefferson studies. his previous books included an empire divided the american revolution and the british caribbean and the men who lost america joining him in conversation is holly brewer burke professor of american history and associate professor at the university of maryland now that's here from andrew o'shaughnessy and holly brewer. thank you for joining us today. hello everyone. thank you so much for coming. i think this is going to be a very fun conversation about a terrific book and an important topic that's it continues to be relevant and powerful.
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and most particularly the questions are about what is the legacy of the american revolution? what does it mean in terms of? citizenship on especially higher education and how should we understanding conflicts of her ideals versus realities in the complex atmospheres in the republic? but education is currently and especially higher education is currently very strongly deb. ated what extent? as it's the found, you know, the universities that were founded in the wake of the revolution in particular to what extent were they? tainted or compromised by questions of slavery and those questions of particularly surrounded the founding of the university of virginia. as it mirrors, it's 200th anniversary. i guess it's just passed it right andrew. well, it's somewhat arbitry had
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in 2019. they celebrated the year that the bill was passed to create the university of virginia. but in actual fact is a rolling anniversary. so 2025 will be the bison henry of the very first students. oh university and when it opened it's doors should have had this book for 2019 that i feel that it's still relative to that bicentennial requirements. i wrote it feeling that this is much more important than the university of virginia. it's alumni and the students. i think there are. ah lessons in this book and insights that are relevant to any of us interested in our education and education more. generally. it's such a creative vision that
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it's useful to engage with as we think today about the purpose of the university. and the role of university okay, so when i talk about education and the impact of the revolution on education, i always emphasize briefly to my students. that there wasn't much public education before the revolution in massachusetts a little bit of you know grammar school for especially aimed at moving the bible. but outside of massachusetts and a few other places. normally you had to be wealthy to get in education and everything costs quite a bit of money. it wasn't much funding by the state if you want to call it that and that we should think of public education as a consequence in part of the american revolution although a hard bought one. what is jefferson's role in in
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pushing for education in virginia and generally in and what is his general impact on the american after the revolution? well, there is really no other founder who was so engaged in the idea of creating a university. i see the american revolution really is the origins of that initially was interested in reforming william and mary, but the university was just the apex of this much broader educational vision that i think very remarkable for the time it took the form of bill in 1779 for the general diffusion of knowledge in virginia. and this would have really created the first public school system as you rightly note, massachusetts and connecticut
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had very high rates of literacy and large numbers of schools. thanks to the puritans later congregationalists and presbyterians who wanted to have a school in every town so that = could read the bible, but it was not an entirely systematic public school system scotland. the same reasons is new england and connecticut. prussia and some of the autographic countries were issuing decrees for public school education system, but that wasn't realized in pressure until the early 19th century. so jefferson's bill had us which would have given. both boys and girls an education for three years basic primary school education and as he told a quaker abolitionist in the
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early 1790s, the bill did not specifically. exclude free african americans louis suspected that the way it would be interpreted by this for the planters would result in that but it was a very enlightened measure. do point out sir in this book the limitable freedom of the human mind, is literally just out. um, i point out there's a real difference between what he was doing and what crush was doing in prussia and these what are sometimes called enlightened despotisms? up, they were interested in strengthening the state. by training bureaucrats and functions jefferson was as much
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interested. in educating people to hold the government accountable and he felt it essential for the survival of the republican system about which he was paranoid or would be seen so today because he was very where historically that all republics and failed. i think it's very brittle system that usually they resulted in a military coup in civil war. and he saw education as we still do to some extent as the panaceae against that he was also interested in creating what he called a natural aristocracy, which was different from a european aristocracy and that it essentially saw his based on merit and educated elite and what he hunts was that they would go to these talk
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universities and that they would be in terms of the time that they put their self-interest aside and look to the public good but he was always quite cynical about that and he insisted throughout his life. but what was most important was actually the public? school system that it would be better if you had to choose to have the population largely educated rather than just a few so far from being utterly liters. you recognize the importance of popular education ironic that he ended up. just serving me elites and creating the university, but the fact is he tried several times infinity and 1821 with very
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similar bills to introduce public education. one of the reasons he kept failing and why he opposed the public education bill of a political opponent was he was utterly opposed to any kind of religious education and he saw that as actually mandated by his virginia statute for religious freedom. he wouldn't even have clergy teaching in the schools at a time when education everywhere. was dominated by different religious denominations, and we should give credit to the fact that the whole evolution of universities. was -- initially to the catholic church, and that a lot of our ceremonies and expressions. come from like the expression of the term dean or rector. mm-hmm, even the wearing of
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roads eating the degree ceremony. some of the old ones have the laying on the fence these come from, you know, religious traditions. right, you've talked about a lot there. i want to be apart some of those threads. but can i just pause for many and i wanted to remind you of a quote would you no doubt now from more than a century before by sir william berkeley governor of virginia and 1671. hearing answer to a question from the authorities in britain in england said i thank god there are no free schools nor printing and i hope you have not have these hundred years for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sex into the world. that is seth secs religious into the world and printing has devolved them and libs against the best governments. god keep us from both. what do you think? jefferson would have had to say
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to berkeley and do you think some of that sentiment that berkeley expressed still existed in virginia century later? i i love that quote. it's one of my favorites that education essentially opens. pandora's box needs to anarchy. yeah, of course jefferson would have deployed it. he would deployed berkeley is the royalists and the cavalier. ironically the university sports teams. no known as the cavaliers they really the royalists who fought against parliament. so i've always seen the tournaments almost subversive of by students of jefferson's round head commentary vision, but you're quite right. it's cavalier tradition continued ironically elite virginians like to think of themselves as the descendants of
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cavaliers the descendants of english aristocrats as opposed to the puritan roundheads in the north because many of those who went to massachusetts and the great great migration and 1620s went to escape charles the first the what's known as the period of personal rule by the yeah monarchy. and the virginian leaked the love to think of themselves as our expression there's a small grain of truth in the idea even though a lot of in fact would descended from indentured servants and even convicts the the only british lord it moves the americas was lord fairfax, and they actually used to own one of the most splendid castle.
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it's castle in england, which is not in the city of leeds. it's much further south and has a moat is often used by the tourist authority and they were the people who were the patrons of george washington. so there were enough real cavaliers and to some extent that anti-intellectual tradition and untie education remained. this was another reason why jefferson couldn't get his education bills passed. they simply weren't willing to expand that amount of money and he was become quite desperate by the early 19th century because he recognized that virginia was falling behind places like, new york and massachusetts, and i didn't especially behind in education. so, you know you i'm sure you know that at the debates over
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the a new constitution virginia in 1830 one of the worries one of the open concerns expressed about expanding the sufferings to create white adult men was that then they would all vote for republic education. this is actually this year in 1830, even then and the we weren't necessarily willing to pay for it. but they were willing to find at least in part these literary funds which set up an annual payment of i think 15,000 a year you show, um, they were willing to find this institution for for a universe a university. um, but with an american republic. i mean in famous correspond in famous letter he wrote to um atoms in 1813. he talks about an of virtue and talent. what did he mean by that and how
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how what we see arguing with adams about and how did that fit into his vision for the university? well, they in many ways had different ideas of an aristocracy talentment. john adams was always much more a pessimist. and felt that you would always get an aristocracy in society, and they may not have titles. it may not be in the context of the monarchy, but you would get these very wealthy people who's differences were odds with the population a large and who would pursue their self-interest to detriment of others and to the public goods um, jefferson certainly recognized the danger of that. it's not an entirely utopian. but he did believe that by
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having real competition i'm i'm the university of virginia. it's from the first in america to have an examination system. yeah, well, they doesn't use the language of merits which is one of my former colleagues here at the university shows is a language that actually comes in very much later and the whole notion of merit. is a complicated one not least is we'll have such different levels of opportunity based on their background race gender, but still there isn't notion of the with jefferson not of pure elitism. i one of the most impressive features of his vision is that it does say that very poor are capable of producing talents.
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he wanted scholarships at the university and that so the poorest could potentially be part of the natural aristocracy right, and that was based in part two on his overall plan. that would have included republic education and those who did well could be could be moved into more, you know could be pushed up the the scale of education so and yet the worst call it where their scholarships. i mean, i've seen what i remember reading in your book. is that the tuition ended up being higher than a lot of other colleges across the country $75 a year now, she's really cheap. but of course then it wasn't quite as cheap. do you think he actually worked in the first few years to um promote and aristocracy over to intolerant or did it actually promote the more traditional
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wealthy hereditary leaders of virginia who already started with their but but in the strip as it were. well like his other great project the declaration independence, it was flawed and as you said in your introduction, it was obviously like all colleges the south had the blemish presence of slavery and although he had wanted to have scholarships. they were not introduce until about 20 years later. and then only a very few of them and his critics of whom there are many. i'll argue that actually the numbers scholarships containers built the general diffusion of knowledge and his later bills was very very small, although they don't take into account
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political feasibility. we always hold jefferson to absolute standards. we forget was a politician and his bills don't necessarily represent what he would most like to do the point, right especially in their final form, right? it's very keen that should be a public. university and that there should be a public school system and certainly represented a movement right direction in terms of opportunities for the larger populace. right, so can we explore this question of slavery a little bit more. there's been there's been several reasons books and also the report that was generated by university of virginia itself in 2018 here i'm thinking about books by. by especially mcginnis and nelson educated and tyranny and alan taylor's recent book which
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have argued that you know. you know, let's be honest if there was a whole lot of just playing celebration of the university of virginia for a long time and not much criticism about about its connection with slavery and not even much exploration of that topic. there's now university of virginia has joined many other universities including my own the university of maryland. in exploring more some of the connections to slavery in the origins from the role that slaves played in actually building the buildings. i remember seeing at the university of mississippi the hand prints on one of the bricks. it's one of the slaves enslaved people who left that print. i'm from building the buildings to the fact that they were serving as you know, there was servants to some of the students unto the professors and they were enslaved sometimes hired out to the you know, so there's there's been this big exploration going on and these
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books have pushed back into almost um almost that the reason for this was to perpetuate slavery. could you talk about why you what your opinion is about that? i mean, i read you were saying that that is misguided that is that is misleading in terms of what the university of virginia was all about. can you explain more? yes, um, i would say from the outset and most of these books came out so during the bicentennial university in 2019 by commission on slavery. for the university and they do represent a very important corrective. to earlier work in acknowledging the presence of slavery and it's unbelievable. now that earlier history is really just didn't discuss this feature of the university or
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only tangentially. and i profited a lot from these books and i incorporate their insights information where i disagree with them is where they give a causal role. to slavery in jefferson's motivation to create the university of virginia. i can see why they do. it is jefferson's constantly talking about major reason to have a a university of university of virginia so that our pupils will not go north. and be contaminated by what he calls the poisonous ideas in the north. the problem with the thinking that this is just code for slavery. is that firstly? 1780s and 1790s when he's first embarked on a project to create
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a major university in virginia and basically to transform the college of william and mary. what divided the north and south most was not a debate on slavery and the historians? ah argue evening during the constitution this debate was ongoing but it was a debate really on the how one represented in slave population in terms of electoral college votes and the voting numbers of votes in the south. what does that the south could keep this historical dominance over the north and would dominate the presidency and the senate much like the southern game we continue to play but in terms of real abolitionism and a major abolitionist movement. that was very slow low.
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it occurred after the american revolution. it was slow to rise with other major issues like the perif southerners really resented paying the tariff to import goods from england because they imported so much and it was protecting northern manufacturers. the banking system and the credit system. these were issues between the north and south the real issue the real poison for jefferson. was firstly that most of the education system and all of it in the north was dominated by his political opponents federalism. and most of the educational system was also dominated by presbyterians, even if there's some colleges and south a lot of
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them were right created and set up by federalist presbyterians and certainly all of them were religious colleges except for transylvania and the universe in north carolina, which experimented was secular education, but they didn't continue it. and it's very interesting to me. now the first mentions name and i didn't think anyone has made this connection. he first mentions the name the university of the virginia and his desire to create the university interestingly enough the unitarian british radical. physical refugee priestley with whom largely discussing religious ideas. it's to him that he says i he wants to found the university. significance the year 1800 is that he was engaged in the most bruising?
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election presidential election almost in our history compares very much almost with the even the civil war and is that hurt? jefferson's most was the attack upon him? and the accusations of being a radical of being an atheist claims that he would make everyone sing the car came president the entrancement french revolution. um, he bitterly resented these attacks and some of the worst attacks actually came from presidents of northern universities who were all so at the same time clerics absolutely still spoken was timothy the president of yale.
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and he went far in 1802 as telling his students that they should take it over never vote for jefferson. ah he thought it was a real problem for the republic to be dominated by physical opponents because he believed only his party was gonna save america and save the true tradition of 1776. he thought that the federalists were gonna turn the place into a monarchy that they reintroduced real aristocracy. they make britain. they make america just satellite of britain. so we're all hereditary aristocracy. yes or whatever. and so the house of words, of course at that time and in fact until 1999 astonishingly was a hereditary body, which is the
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compromise and there were some like john adams by 18 13 so but let's push just a little bit more on this question to slavery. so i was reading some of the letters that are cited in that report from 2018 and and by ellen taylor and by you such as a letter from thomas jefferson to james breckenridge 15th of february 18th, and one and the very famous letter to john holmes. i'm 22nd of april 18 both of which are heavis was pointing out in his introduction available in founders online. so anyone here can find those letters and yourself. and it seems to me you're right that at least in the letter of 1821 that he jefferson does talk about northern seminaries as being a problem and um,
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essentially our sons and vibing opinions and principles in discord with those are our own countries, but it's not at all clear that he necessarily means, you know strong anti-slaveries. i think you can make an argument that he was worried. they might become insurrectionists on the lines of later interactions such as john brown. but when you read something like his letter to john holmes and 20 and so much of jefferson's other writing. he supports emancipation. i mean he's worried. he's fearful of the possibilities of interaction his whole quite 1782 where he says in his notes on the state of virginia section of manners where he says. that essentially god would side with the slaves if there were an interaction because there's a positive justice right? so you really worry that that would happen. but on the other hand over and over again, he says. he says he supports
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fragmentation, especially with colonization um, can you talk a little bit more? i mean i was i was standing specially by what you found about him writing a letter saying he would have supported he wished. he'd included support for free black children the educated. yes. what really is he just torn? where does he stand on all this? you have wonderful discussion of his correspondence with banneker and others. we're where do you think he stamford's questions? well, let me begin with the first talks the question and instantly the national archives the founders online. is an immensely useful source and any of our viewers today who come across a quote if they are. doubtful about it if they just put it in google. it should immediately bring up one of these letters and if it
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doesn't that's right, you know, you're pretty you can be pretty sure it's wrong or you can go on to the and find misquotes from jefferson, but you're quite right the letters you talked about at the beginning. well letters written at the height of the missouri crisis as you know, this was the great debate about whether to allow missouri into the unions of free state or a slave state and in some ways, it's the us real issue that seems to start splitting the north and south on the issue of slavery we talked about the, missouri. crisis of 1820 but it continues into 18 21 and jefferson rights. what are these?
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i seemingly the very anxious letters to various people. i one of the most famous phrases says that this it's like a fire bell in the night and he does seem to envisage possibly the breakup of the union what i would stress is that these letters are written when the universe is almost fully clean. and when the university commission reports makes the statement that jefferson and this got repeated in the guardian in the atlantic the washington post along with a number of the more polemical claims in that reports should be provided. just good basic. information um, but in
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supporting that contention jefferson founded the university protect and expand slavery it gives this letter to breckenridge. which as you say no by no means clinches that argument indeed a very good historian. possible stuart library arguing that actually jefferson was writing breckenridge as a political opponent. basically wanting to get his support so remaining funding of the university. and that as soon as he got them money. suddenly he seemed to relax, missouri. crisis and no longer to to worry about it. but in terms of his general views on slavery and on race and which is his views on race i think are even more indefensible
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although they do reflect views common in both north and the south at the time but nevertheless he does shift in his views. there's always a sense of doubt and of possibility. i mean, it is interesting that he said you couldn't possibly have a freshly into mixed society and notes on the state of virginia and yet in the last month is life. signs will freeing the remaining sons of sally hemings and also sends an appeal of petition to the virginia legislature, but they've allowed to remain in virginia and that the law insisting.
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that free african americans leave the state recently immense faded would be waived in their rap favor and there are letters which he talks about. the possibility of the survey equal intellectual ability, you know, he acknowledges our view our lowest is based on. people who have never had the advantages and in that sense are not comparable on the other hand. he does just dismiss benjamin bank banneker. ultimately. yeah and having been quite polite in his correspondence bandico is a african-american mathematician who corresponded with him last i think every african american and indeed modern many modern historians would love to ask him.
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how could you write all men are crazy equal? um, and yeah, you know you're honored bound to make that more of a reality right, but he someone else. oh then because abilities even suggesting that it was just his white. my opposite made him look. yeah good despite that banneker it worked on the design and dc and building it. as well. yes, it had have complex mathematical calculations. would you impact send it to kind of say in france, by the way? i don't think you know that but it is it is there among the records so the editor of the infected beauty so it is interesting and sense that he did do what he said. that's i mean um, what's up
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indicates to me? sorry, go ahead. i assume it's often conflicted. yeah. i do as well. i mean particularly in terms of his own ownership of enslaved people. i i always think it's important to emphasize that he inherited quite a lot of those and say people from his father-in-law but also with a lot of debts and the many mission laws and in virginia said you had to be free of doubt before you can free people. so it it was it was actually a more complex situation than sometimes think about um but i'd like to turn our attention to another issue that you erased earlier in passing and that is the religious issue. and i want to in in dealing with this issue. not only think about why jefferson would have been so opposed to having a university the primaries primarily taught religion as william and mary had done.
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um, but why why he killed so much religion in general and when i talk about this with my students one of the things i emphasizes that the church the church of england which jefferson grew up with in. the head of that church was the king of england and every church service and in fact every meeting of the house of burgesses would have involved oaths of allegiance, you know, undying allegiance to hereditary monarchs. and this of course became a real issue with the revolution and also teachings of paso obedience or embedded the book of common prayer. um and and yet i mean to me it sort of at the heart of two kinds of issues one of them and i'm and i just was thinking maybe you could explain this a little bit. that is purpose for the university but one of them is that having universities of focus so much on religion aren't in fact compatible with teaching
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freedom or teaching independence or consent. potentially. the second of them is a question of governance. so well, you know, i'll hold this for just a second. we'll get back to this at the very end. yeah, go ahead. well, he's so political freedom and religious freedom is essential for intellectual freedom his great fear with religious colleges was not so much religion itself. he was claimed to not to be an atheist and to be religious. you know, he said i am a christian the way that i am down the term essentially would be aliens most modern christians because he didn't believe in fundamentals like the trinity. up, but i'm just great fear was
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actually denominational control. individual religions like presbyterianism interesting. he was less fearful of the baptists. and the quakers, but they were not nearly as engaged. in the project of founding colleges and schools. the presbyterians is very important to them because they believed in having an educated clergy and you know the same it's cost true of the athlete church and the church of england. and he felt that firstly. such colleges were less open to new kinds sources and information and ideas especially science. which to some extent was? true and they're more concerned with tradition. unless concerned with basing.
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knowledge purely on demonstratable facts and what we call empirical knowledge and he also felt that they all had their own kinds of bigotry. that were groundless and based on miss readings of the bible on is adding what he called accretions to the bible the year that the bill went through to found the university of virginia. he started this remarkable project of and you can see the projects and library of congress. wait did what people now call the jefferson bible it is otherwise known as life morals of jesus telling this project as president in which he would put he basically cut and paste the gospels right and remove every
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passage that he felt was false. yeah anything that involved a miracle and he basically juiced it down. to the teachings of jesus which was in early. name for it and he did it in four different languages columns side by side. you have to say that it was a remarkable project not only showing his skill in languages, but what we would call modern day hermeneutics. critically, right i was fascinated by your discussion there and i think you i have written about and i haven't published it but locks last work was also commentary on the bible, which was also hermeneutics in some of the same way and it's it's really important to recognize. i think that some of the
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passages, you know passages from the bible as they were interpreted in the early 19th century for example were used to justify hierarchy obedience slavery etc. especially passages from for example paul, and i noticed that in in the jeffersons completely excised paul from all from his is really actually went and looked it off after reading your discussion really fascinating. but so finally i just have just a few minutes and then i think we're gonna take questions, but i wanted to to push on something that i find fascinating you didn't dwell on but um, but you do talk about and that is why did he gave up on william and mary because there were six faculty members that are all of him had some sort of religious background. they were pointed as you know ministers, which had been the traditional purpose of most education including william and mary, but they had control over who next got hired and so he didn't feel like he could just even just um, he couldn't just
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fire the six faculty members he had to rely on them to choose the replacements and he couldn't he didn't feel like he could get scientists in a medical school and a law faculty and other things that he wanted and and that was why he gave up on william and mary um obviously the new school starting from scratch the the board of directors the board of governors, which was chosen supposed to be chosen by the legislature and i guess he had more dna too, but they could choose who the faculty members were but the faculty members. had a lot of authority in this initial vision they were and he the way he described it in your you talk about this in your book is the faculty members at the university, virginia. we're supposed to be the executive branch. and the board of the board of directors the board of governors was the what is it called it for uva again.
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is it board of governors and both visitors greater visitors was supposed to represent the legislature. so he's got this for the balance of power thing going on, but there's no space in that balance of power for administrators and we live in a world now. we're in the 20th first century here at the university of maryland faculty have no control over where who gets you know, which departments get lines or wait, you know where the money goes or etc. it's all in the hands of administrators. i guess you could say what would jefferson think about that but more importantly how has that initial vision of the faculty really running their own school with advice from a university board. um, how's that change over time and do you think that this is a good change? the firstly i think one of the reasons we've not fully recognized jefferson's extraordinary achievement and the novelty of a lot of what he did and how it impacted her
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education in american general is we now take some of this key ideas like secular university elective curriculum where students choose courses from then just be we take those now for granted. well other ideas that he had we we've abandoned and it i say we i mean the university of virginia has abandoned and one of those was faculty self-governments the university didn't have a president until 1900 so much a bit first hundred years was actually with a chairman chairman of the faculty running. the university was a rotating chair of that the government the junior they they made his automatic. so everyone had to do time. they recognize after while not living this hotel.
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and so it's been elective system, but i think it's worth recognizing that i cannot think of any head of any state in any time period who spent so long thinking about the creation of a university. and jefferson i doubt if any other president was so concerned about faculty and some of ironic that a lot of faculty today. so to test the men and are so virulent against him because he wanted the faculty at the university of virginia to be the best paid faculty in america and they were up and harvard. he designed the university. of course, he was architect and he built what was the civilians for the faculty and i can assure you any modern day faculty member if they were off this as
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faculty accommodation with thinking about it was wonderful. i i mean one of the few universities that still has real faculty governance is oxford. and and cambridge where essentially the fellows the college are largely self-governing and the central university still has quite a small. administration i personally was liked because you'll then guaranteed having people with real academic values on the other hand people within the oxford would criticizing it all the time because it was somewhat like the running of america the hospitals and consideration. just doing their own thing. it's difficult to get people on the same page and to get any central reform or changes. i was very i think it was alex
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von humboldt who said that and he's a great german educational reformer that having faculty. running a university and this is rather sort of hierarchical european is like having the animals run the zoo. well, i get that but i also think there should be checks and balances and it strikes me that we've lost many of the checks and balances nowadays. so, you know, i was just so so interested in you know about yes about this governance. jefferson's view of proper governance at the university. and can we talk just a little bit more about what was to be taught at the university of virginia? i mean, obviously there were limits to what electives people could choose um in jefferson as you cannot organize his library in a particular way to emphasize
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history, which is memory and philosophy. right, which is also law and literature or imagination and i didn't seem to correspond exactly to what i could see about the courses that were supposed to be taught. i mean any rights in the notes in the state of virginia to emphasize how important history is. and all of this was a big breakaway from what had been taught and older university, so i just not to be to put to find a point on it, but cambridge university for example just found a notes of one of newton's debates when he was in college, which was on the question of free will versus divine. um divine control so it was you know so much, you know, here's this major scientist growing up with him without it and jefferson wanted to break away. but how do you how did the courses that were actually taught at the university correspond to jefferson's ideas about?
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you know history and literature. well, are you very innovative both in the kind of course structure and offerings and also in pedagogy and how those courses were taught and the very decision to call. university a university was a big one. i know there were very few places in america at the time that colton stolt universities. i mean somewhere like columbia it was still known as columbia college and similarly south carolina's south carolina college did is difficult to keep using the original terms for more readers. i sometimes deliberately transmitted. got something in brackets his idea of universe. is it basically taught everything?
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it should try and be as universal? in knowledge as possible many people today tend to think of jefferson as someone who's pushings something like modern stem, you know, science technology engineer mathematics. and that actually is an error. i'm what was innovative is he really wanted to teach the pure science is that this chemistry were often not being taught in other universities. this was one of the first universities to teach economics. so argued that learning anglo-saxons essential and spend a lot of time writing up the reading list for an anglo stack some course. he believed in the teaching of modern languages few universities fort modern languages and one was so distinct about is he was
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breaking away from the old classical model right? basically teaching the classics and only two years after jefferson died in 1828. yale issued a report anything coming from here support. that's the most influential university in america at the time. more college presidents and any university at the time and yell basically said we should go back to the classics. ellen crappy yelling practice did start offering science nevertheless. the scientists was segregated. it was known as the ship. thanks, but they were put in a special place in chapel. that's you know, rather made to feel inferior, even though it had some very scientists as you know, that was not casein jefferson the word science in this period is used very broadly and it's more about methodology
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system and knowledge based on facts and that's an observation right? yes. that's right and experimentation. i was i was thinking a lot about the medical school there eva which came very prominent quickly and and was very important and and how it all but how it also illuminates both the inspired and forward looking nature of jefferson's vision, but ways in which sometimes leave that became implicated with slavery and racism in and so one of the chapters in in one of the books that you're you're criticizing in part it by my mcginnis and nelson educating attorney is about the operating theater and the fact that regularly ended up for medical students to understand how the human body works they needed. in adam, you know bodies
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clipses. and how they were, you know, sometimes going and stealing the bodies of people and play people who are recently buried on nearby plantations in order to use them sometimes pain masters etc. um would you say that that is the fact that sort of quiet way in which slavery became a part of the way the lessons were done. and the fact that the students were all white would you say that that is that sort of captures some of the the tension at uva in the early 19th century on these questions or would you what would you add to what i just it does? i'm my problem with their work is that there's no context they don't look it up. universities or colleges, so i spent a great deal of time in writing this book. on reading about the history of education more generally and if you look at using cadavers.
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for medical experiments. this was a notorious operation. yeah, really modern europe and throughout america, and essentially it was always the poorest in society is bodies were used now, they might use homeless people and there was a notorious trade since very few people were willing to leave there modest medicine. i'm not sure that was really any thing. there's no tourist trade in body snatching and body, right? obtains not just about slavery or maybe yes, it is tensions within medicine and modern science. but yes interesting. okay, you know, i hate to end this conversation, but we are out of time like this is i was saying that we've got to know here so it's been so wonderful
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to talk to you andrew and i really so enjoyed. book and there's i have a list of like three other things we can still talk about. hello, hopefully we'll continue that over coffee. i hope other people are willing, you know would in buying and enjoy reading your book and thank you so much for coming today. oh, thank you. thank you so much to the national archives for having me. it's absolutelyorg/history.
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i want to thank you all for coming to the hermitage this evening and want to welcome you i'm howard cattell and i have the privilege of being the president and ceo of the andrew jackson foundation. and we're so happy to have you here tonight for our third history and quirked series our th


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