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"Is it a right or a duty in society to take care of their infant members in opposition to the will of the parent? How far does this right and duty extend? --to guard the life of the infant, his property, his instruction, his morals? The Roman father was supreme in all these: we draw a line, but where? --public sentiment does not seem to have traced it precisely... It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father... What is proposed... is to remove the objection of expense, by offering education gratis, and to strengthen parental excitement by the disfranchisement of his child while uneducated. Society has certainly a right to disavow him whom they offer, and are permitted to qualify for the duties of a citizen. If we do not force instruction, let us at least strengthen the motives to receive it when offered."
Thomas Jefferson (more quotes by Thomas Jefferson or books by/about Thomas Jefferson)
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Note to Elementary School Act, 1817
The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition 17:423 (Lipscomb and Bergh, editors), 1903-04
Authority, Coercion, Education, Free Thought, Individual Rights, Children