Jefferson’s university | Curio
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Jefferson’s university

23 mins | Oct 16, 2021
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Did the 3rd US President really believe that his educational institution would reform the South? Thomas Jefferson founded a university believing it would safeguard republican freedom. To realise it, he promised it would protect slavery. His notion of reforming society through generational change persists in how Americans think about education today. Alan Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair at the University of Virginia and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in History, explores how Jefferson created a university in an attempt to advance democracy without directly confronting the slave system of his beloved Virginia. "The university didn't reform the southern students, who dominated the university. True to the interests of their privileged families, UVA graduates resisted democracy and clung to slavery. As lawyers, planters, state legislators and constitutional delegates, they opposed expanding the electorate, rejected proposals for public schools, and blasted antislavery ideas as treasonous. Instead of inspiring liberal reformers, the new university prepared leaders for a southern Confederacy that rebelled against the union in 1861."
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