Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Cooper’s Notes on University Curricula, [ca. 15–22 September 1814]

Thomas Cooper’s Notes on University Curricula

[ca. 15–22 Sept. 1814]

It appears to me desireable, that in an University, should be taught

1 Languages } antient.  Latin.Greek
modern. French.
2 { Mathematics. Plane and Spherical1 Trigonometry. Algebra. Fluxions.
Nat. Philosophy } Mechanics. Hydraulics. Hydrostatics. Pneumatics. Optics.
Magnetism. Winds. Clouds. Meteors. Dew. Vapours.
3 Chemistry } Chemistry as applied to Agriculture, Arts, & Manufacture.
Electricity and Galvanism, & their connection with Chemistry.
Mineralogy and Geology.
4 { Ethics } Natural Theology. Foundation of moral obligation.
Duties of a man, and of a citizen.
Metaphysics } Ontology. Cause & effect. Nominalists & realists. Abstract Ideas. Species intelligibiles &c history of these questions to the time of Locke. Liberty & Necessity. Hobbes. Leibnitz &c
Ideology { Scotch School. Reid. Dugald Stewart.
English School. Hartley. Priestley. Belsham.
French School. De Mairan. Condillac. Cabanis. Destut Tracey.
Connection of Ideology with Physiology.
Logic } Account of the Logic of Aristotle.
Logic as applied by the schoolmen, its uses & abuses. Aquinas. Bradwardine. scotus.
Modern abridgements of Watts, Duncan &c
Exercises in Syllogisms, their properties & laws.
5 History } Spirit of antient & modern history. Progress of civilization in laws, language & manners. History of forms of Government. Theory of Politics.
Political Economy & Statistics. Political Arithmetic or arithmetical questions dependant on these Subjects
6 Natural history } Elements of Anatomy & Physiology
natural history of Animals.
Botany on the systems both of Linnæus & Jussieu, which is now necessary.
History of Man, his races, varieties, migrations, manners and habits in various ages, climates & geographical situations
7. Law. } Law of nature and of nations. Civil law.
Characters & varieties of the State Codes as to their general features.
Municipal Law as applicable to the United states, wherein of common, statute, & chancery Law.
Drawing. Fencing & the Manual exercise.

I think it should be scrupulously exacted, that no young person should be admitted a member of the university, who cannot pass an examination in some of the easier classics, and in the common rules of Arithmetic; including vulgar & decimal fractions, & the mensuration of superficies & solids. For this purpose, would not a grammar school connected with, but at some distance from the university be of use? The boys at a grammar school, are such nuisances in the bounds of an university, that the two Institutions ought not to be near each other. I speak from experience here, and elsewhere. I take the present as I take every opportunity of urging (whether in Season or out of Season) the great value of incessant translations in & out of the languages that are to be taught.

The preceding plan appears to me to require 7 or 8 professors.—

It might be filled up, not at once, but gradually.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 201:35725); entirely in Cooper’s hand; undated.

Evidently a partial response to TJ’s 25 Aug. 1814 letter to Cooper, this document is filed by DLC with the RC of Cooper to TJ, 22 Sept. 1814, but it could also have accompanied his letter of 15 Sept. 1814.

1Manuscript: “Sperical.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; study of search
  • anatomy; study of search
  • Aristotle; study of search
  • Belsham, Thomas; in collegiate curriculum search
  • botany; study of search
  • Bradwardine, Thomas search
  • Cabanis, Pierre Jean Georges; in collegiate curriculum search
  • chemistry; study of search
  • classics; collegiate education in search
  • Condillac, Étienne Bonnot de; in collegiate curriculum search
  • Cooper, Thomas; and university curriculum search
  • Cooper, Thomas; Notes on University Curricula search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; in collegiate curriculum search
  • drawing; study of search
  • Duncan, William search
  • Duns Scotus, John search
  • education; elementary search
  • education; Latin search
  • electricity; study of search
  • ethics; study of search
  • exercise, physical; at college search
  • fencing; at college search
  • French language; study of search
  • galvanism; study of search
  • geography; collegiate education in search
  • geology; study of search
  • Greek language; study of search
  • Hartley, David (ca.1705–57); in collegiate curriculum search
  • history; collegiate education in search
  • Hobbes, Thomas; in collegiate curriculum search
  • hydraulics; study of search
  • hydrostatics; study of search
  • ideology; study of search
  • Jussieu, Bernard de; in collegiate curriculum search
  • language; study of search
  • Latin; study of search
  • law; collegiate education in search
  • Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm; in collegiate curriculum search
  • Linnaeus, Carolus (Carl von Linné); in collegiate curriculum search
  • Locke, John; mentioned search
  • logic; study of search
  • Mairan, Jean Jacques d’Ortous de search
  • mathematics; algebra search
  • mathematics; calculus search
  • mathematics; collegiate education in search
  • mathematics; statistics search
  • mathematics; study of search
  • mathematics; trigonometry search
  • metaphysics; study of search
  • meteorology; study of search
  • mineralogy; study of search
  • natural history; study of search
  • optics; study of search
  • physics; study of search
  • physiology; study of search
  • pneumatics; study of search
  • political economy; study of search
  • politics; study of search
  • Priestley, Joseph; in collegiate curriculum search
  • Reid, Thomas search
  • Stewart, Dugald; in collegiate curriculum search
  • Thomas Aquinas search
  • Watts, Isaac search