Jefferson also had a strong belief that without and educational background people would never really have any idea of what true freedom was. Jefferson is quoted as saying, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in civilization, it expects what it never was and never will be" (Padover 1952). Therefore the belief from education to the past and currently in the present still exists to be that without an education people will only dream of what they want to be in life and what they would love to achieve. In order for great things to happen one has to have knowledge of their past and a good knowledge of their future through the gift of education.
In colonial times the main structure of education was situated around learning English, Reading, Writing, History, and Arithmetic due to the fact that these five areas are and have always been considered to be the most prudent areas to have knowledge about in life. Also, there were public schools just as there are today and there existed private schools as well but in colonial times the only children that could have the possibility of attending where all white and came from very influential and prosperous families (Mapp 1991). Many studies have also found that poor children did not have the ability to attend any type of formal schooling due to the fact they did not have the clothes or supplies to be able to afford going and also due to great fear of not fitting in. Not only this but it was also in part on the fact that their parents needed them more on the farms working for monetary compensation to sustain the family than taking the time to receive a proper education. Therefore these children studied through apprenticeship (Pulliam & Patten 1999). Furthermore, those that did venture into elementary school only took time to learn the basics of schooling in order to function decently in society but their knowledge was very limited. Basically the learning process consisted of a lot of memorizing and those who did not study and learn where often whipped, which is similar to the style of punishment today in schools with the principal paddling students who act up in class. However, in colonial times the punishment for disruption was much harsher than it is today.
The first textbook came from New England and was titled, "The New England Primer" and formed a part of America's contribution to young people's education. This text was used from 1609 all the way up until the mid 19th century to teach religion and reading (Pulliam & Patten 1999). For instance, for every letter of the alphabet that a child learned they also learned a religious scripture as well. Such as for the letter a, they learned "In Adams fall, We all sin." (Pulliam & Patten 1999). This shows that in the colonial period schools were greatly influenced by religion and when compared to today we can see a stark difference because religion in the public school system has all but been taken out of the teaching curriculum. Benjamin Franklin also had a great role in the educational process during the late colonial period as well, in fact possibly just as influential as Thomas Jefferson was to the learning process of the various time periods. As the times progressed in the learning environment for Americans the more the attitude grew that necessary
Going back in history to the time of Thomas Jefferson it can be seen that the education of young people was a deeply seated one even in this period of time. Jefferson had his own personal view on education stating that he believed a Universal form of education would need to precede any idea of Universal suffrage among the young people of the community (Honeywell 1964)…
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