Wednesday, March 04, 2009
No people may long remain free if they do not enjoy the respect of other peoples; no people can hope to have other peoples' respect, so long as they do not respect themselves; so long as a people remain in ignorance, they shall be neither capable nor worthy of self-respect.
The question is one of education: either we shall teach our children to be free, or failing in that enterprise, condemn them first to ignominy and then to slavery.
Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, adn grammar-schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, and good humor, and all social affections and generous sentiments, among the people.
From the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, principally drafted by John Adams, 2nd President of the United States