Established in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia was known as ''The University'' throughout the South for most of the nineteenth century, and today it stands as one of the premier universities in the world. This volume provides an in-depth look at the founding of the University and, in the process, develops new and important insights into Jefferson's contributions as well as into the impact of the University on the history of higher education.
The contributors depict the students who were entering higher education in the early republic--their aspirations, their juvenile and often violent confrontations with authority, and their relationships with enslaved workers at the University. Contributors then turn to the building of the University, including its unique architectural plan as an ''Academical Village'' and the often-hidden role of African Americans in its construction and day-to-day life. The next set of essays explore various aspects of Jefferson's intellectual vision for the University, including his innovative scheme for medical education, his dogmatic view of the necessity of a ''republican'' legal education, and the detailed plans for the library by Jefferson, one of America's preeminent bibliophiles. The book concludes by considering the changing nature of education in the early nineteenth century, in particular the new focus on research and discovery, in which Jefferson, again, played an important role. Providing a fascinating and important look at the development of one of America's oldest and most preeminent educational institutions, this book provides yet another perspective from which to appreciate the extraordinary contributions of Jefferson in the development of the new nation.