…[I have] been elected by the city council a trustee for the public schools to be established at Washington & by the trustees to preside at their board … sincerely believing that knolege promotes the happiness of man, I shall ever be disposed to contribute my endeavors towards it’s extension, and in the instance under consideration will willingly undertake the duties proposed to me, so far as others of paramount obligation [i.e. President of the U.S.] will permit my attention to them.
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Brent, August 14, 1805
In March, 2020, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, I interrupted my review of Jefferson’s presidential correspondence, to focus on his writings about the yellow fever from 1793 on. That project is now complete, and I return to 1805.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Visionary leaders always promote an educated constituency.
The President declined most appointments, but gladly accepted this one, to preside over the Board of Education for public schools in Washington City. Not only was an educated citizenry essential for the protection of the new republic, education promoted happiness in people. By that standard, Jefferson was the happiest of all men!