Topic: Education

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B. Rush Proposes a System of Public Schools for Pennsylvania

Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania wrote this book to promote public education in his state. Rush wanted children to receive at least a basic education at a tax-supported “free...
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Benjamin Rush

This portrait of Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia was done by the American painter, Charles Willson Peale. The painting depicts Rush, who was an author, physician, statesman, and social...
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Bill for More General Diffusion of Knowledge

Jefferson proposed this Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge in 1779 as part of a larger plan to democratize Virginia. He wanted a three-tiered system of...
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Declaration of Sentiments

This document is the Declaration of Sentiments issued by the participants in the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. At this gathering in upstate New York, 342 women and...
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Dolland Telescope

Jefferson owned three telescopes, including this one. Science was a common hobby for educated men of Jefferson’s era and astronomy was especially popular. Key discoveries by astronomers launched...
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James Madison to George Thompson

In this letter, James Madison praised Virginia’s “Magnificent” college in Charlottesville. Though Madison shared Jefferson’s belief in the need to educate citizens in a republic, Virginia was not...
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James Madison’s State of the Union Address

In this speech, President Madison asked Congress to establish a national university in Washington. Both Washington and Jefferson had supported this idea. In his will, Washington even set...
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Jefferson to Albert Gallatin

In this letter to Albert Gallatin, Jefferson expressed his desire to recruit top European academics, particularly scientists, for his new university. When the University of Virginia held its...
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Jefferson to Charles Yancey

In this letter Jefferson urged Charles Yancey, a state legislator, to support “Central College”—the future University of Virginia. Education, he asserted, was necessary for freedom and for civilization....
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Jefferson to Destutt de Tracy

Jefferson’s university, as this letter shows, would spread Enlightenment ideas and values. The Treatise on Political Economy written by his correspondent—translated by Jefferson in 1817—and Montesquieu’s Spirit of...