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13 January, 2012
Thomas Jefferson - A Character Sketch|
Educating American Boys Abroad
by Ellis, Edward S. (A.M.)
|Mr. Jefferson was a strong opponent of the practice of sending boys abroad
to be educated. He says:
"The boy sent to Europe acquires a fondness for European luxury and
dissipation, and a contempt for the simplicity of his own country.
"He is fascinated with the privileges of the European aristocrats, and sees
with abhorrence the lovely equality which the poor enjoy with the rich in
his own country.
"He contracts a partiality for aristocracy or monarchy.
"He forms foreign friendships which will never be useful to him.
"He loses the seasons of life for forming in his own country those
friendships which of all others are the most faithful and permanent.
"He returns to his own country a foreigner, unacquainted with the practices
of domestic economy necessary to preserve him from ruin.
"He speaks and writes his native tongue as a foreigner, and is therefore
unqualified to obtain those distinctions which eloquence of the tongue and
pen insures in a free country.
"It appears to me then that an American going to Europe for education loses
in his knowledge, in his morals, in his health, in his habits and in his
These utterances of Jefferson apply of course only to boys in the formative
period of their lives, and not to mature students who go abroad for higher