Moving on to Thomas Jefferson, Part 2…(or, Stay in School! )

While the early years of George Washington seemed to demonstrate both physical and mental /political/social preparations for his future, it is of note that the grooming of Thomas Jefferson remained decidedly cerebral. Of note also is the fact that, apparently, he loved it.

Thomas Jefferson loved learning. At nine years of age, our future third President was studying Greek, Latin and French. (Of course, he himself did not know that he would one day be the U.S. Minister to France, and take up residence in Paris for four years…hmmm…not to mention his eventual ‘involvement’ in the French Revolution…) Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, Jefferson spent two years boarding at a learned minister’s school where, among other subjects, he was introduced to the Greek concept of ‘paideia’ . What interests me about this philosophy is that a large part of its goal is training for liberty! (I’m just about getting chills at this point…) (No, wait…I am getting them.) Jefferson entered William & Mary College at age sixteen, where he studied for two years before graduating with highest honors. (While there, he was instructed in the writings of, among others, John Locke. Locke is famous for his ‘Two Treatises of Civil Government’, in which he advocates the legitimacy of revolt against tyranny.)

Aren’t we glad that young Thomas Jefferson, who became the primary author of perhaps the most powerfully worded document in history, who helped change the course of history by doing so, stayed in school?


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