George Washington

761 – Washington on the State of the World and Its Future

“On these occasions I consider how mankind may be connected like one great family in fraternal ties—I endulge a fond, perhaps an enthusiastic idea, that as the world is evidently much less barbarous than it has been, its melioration must still be progressive—that nations are becoming more humanized in their policy—that the subjects of ambition & causes for hostility are daily diminishing—and in fine, that the period is not very remote when the benefits of a liberal & free commerce will, pretty generally, succeed to the devastations & horrors of war.”

–George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America

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326 – “Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

–George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America
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292 – “The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”

–Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of the United States of America

Context for this quote shows a paternalistic, but somewhat progressive for that time, view arguing that African Americans, who had been enfranchised only a few years before, should be allowed to educate themselves in order to make them selves “worthy of their new privilege,” which was the vote. An educated and informed Public is a requirement of for any democratic form of government to function well.
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