Only popular government can safeguard democracy. "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree"."
"Democracy cannot long exist without enlightenment".it cannot function without wise and honest officials."
In free societies, everyone "should be educated regardless of wealth, birth or other accidental conditions".Children of the poor must be educated at common expense."
On December 2, 1806, in his State of the Union Address, he urged Congress pass a constitutional amendment mandating federal support for education. He said:
"An amendment to our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all people."
He never got what he wanted. It's our loss today. He believed primary and secondary education were vital. He wanted them kept public. He had six objectives. He hoped they'd create a more productive, informed electorate. They included:
(1) "To give every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business;
(2) To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts, and accounts, in writing;
(3) To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties;
(4) To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either;
(5) To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment;
(6) And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed."
Hopefully he meant "she" as well as "he."
He devoted his later years to education. He wanted to create an "academic village." In 1819, he founded the University of Virginia. He envisioned a new kind of university. He wanted emphasis placed on practical affairs and public service.
It was America's first nonsectarian institution of higher learning. It was the first to adopt an elective course system. He called founding the university one of his greatest achievements.