In his letter to Nathaniel Burwell on March 14, 1818, Jefferson said spoke about female education. He said that educating the other half of the population had crossed his mind only when it came to the subject of his daughters. The reasons he chose to educate his daughters were far from exemplary according to the standards of society today. Jefferson stated in the letter: “I thought it essential to give them a solid education, which might enable them, when become mothers, to educate their own daughters, and even to direct the course for sons, should their fathers be lost, or incapable, or inattentive.”(1412) He continued telling Mr. Burwell how is daughter’s sole object in life was to educate her children. His entire visionary legacy comes to a halt with his ideas about female education. Aside from other things he was unable to see that women are equal to men and have the right to study and be educated not just to educate their sons incase a male is not present but to be free like any other man.
“The story of women’s educational opportunities at the University of Virginia begins with Thomas Jefferson’s vision and intentions. His values created the nineteenth-century university and hovered over it through much of the twentieth century. Over the years, administrators, students, and alumni summoned the Sage of Monticello and the force of tradition to justify the status quo and to resist full incorporation of women into its programs. In so doing, they claimed to protect the honor system, maintain standards, and preserve the elite reputation of the university.” (Leffler) His legacy did not include the education of women. In his letter to Mr. Burwell he speaks about the importance of “ornaments…and the amusements of life [to receive] their portion of attention [and the ornamental and amusing education a woman will receive is to include] dancing, drawing, and music…” (Jefferson 1413) “…in order to develop their attractiveness and taste.”(Leffler) He reduced women’s education to trivial things such as attracting the opposite sex and defined that dancing would be considered inappropriate after marriage and drawing is something that must be carried on no matter because it was an innocent act. (Jefferson, 1413) “I need say nothing of household economy, in which the mothers of our country are generally skilled, and generally careful to instruct their daughters.
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