But why send an American youth to Europe for education? … he learns drinking, horse racing and boxing … acquires a fondness for European luxury and dissipation, and a contempt for the simplicity of his own country… contracts a partiality for aristocracy or monarchy … is led by the strongest of all the human passions, into a spirit for female intrigue, destructive of his own and others’ happiness, or a passion for whores, destructive of his health, and, in both cases, learns to consider fidelity to the marriage bed as an ungentlemanly practice, and inconsistent with happiness … returns to his own country, a foreigner, unacquainted with the practices of domestic economy …
It appears to me then, that an American coming to Europe for education, loses in his knowledge, in his morals, in his health, in his habits, and in his happiness.
I had entertained only doubts on this head, before I came to Europe: what I see and hear, since I came here, proves more than I had even suspected.
Source: Thomas Jefferson to John Bannister, Jr., October 15, 1785
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Well! What do you suppose he REALLY thought?
A European education wasn’t all negative. He conceded advantages in the arts, exposure to classical architecture and in learning languages. Those positives, however, were greatly outweighed by the dangers he listed, greatly summarized here.
Jefferson was writing from Paris. He had suspected these ills attended a European education before he ever left America. Now that he was in Europe, he could confirm those fears firsthand.
Jefferson ended this letter with a request that Mr. Bannister study America’s leaders. The ones who were “of most learning, of most eloquence, most beloved … most trusted and promoted” had been educated, not in Europe, but at home, in America.
America can educate its own leaders!
Mr. Jefferson desires to encourage your audience in this regard.
Call Patrick Lee to schedule his presentation, 657-657-2739.
The Moral Liberal Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.