An Enlightened People

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An enlightened People Possessing a clear understanding of the failure of previous civilizations to achieve and sustain freedom for individuals, our forefathers discovered some timeless truths about human nature, the struggle for individual liberty, the human tendency toward abuse of power, and the means for curbing that tendency through Constitutional self-government. Jefferson's Bill For The More General Diffusion Of Knowledge For Virginia declared:
"...experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government), those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate...the minds of the people...to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth. History, by apprizing them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future...it will qualify them judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.."
Education was not perceived by the Founders to be a mere process for teaching basic skills. It was much, much more. Educa­tion included the very process by which the people of America would understand and be able to preserve their liberty and secure their Creator-endowed rights. Understanding the nature and origin of their rights and the means of preserving them, the people would be capable of self government, for they would recognize any threats to liberty and "nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud." (Adams)
 
Footnote: Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part III:  ISBN 0-937047-01-5

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