U.S. Founding Fathers on Education, in Their Own Words

Ashley Thorne

Happy Independence Day from all of us at NAS!

For your inspiration as you head into a weekend of grilling and fireworks - some words of wisdom on education from our founding fathers: 

"Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country."

Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

Thomas Jefferson

"If Virtue & Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav'd. This will be their great Security."

Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country."

Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America

"It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness."

James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791

"[F]or avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy . . . the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people. I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. [T]herefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God."

Gouverneur Morris, Penman and Signer of the Constitution.

All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. 

George Washington

"A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district--all studied and appreciated as they merit--are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty."

Benjamin Franklin

 "If truth be not diffused, error will be."

Daniel Webster

Additional links

http://www.marksquotes.com/Founding-Fathers/

http://www.cancertutor.com/Quotes/Quotes_Presidents.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_washington.html

http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/founding.html

Image: Public Domain

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