Mill believes that it is impossible to be a great scientist, without having some feeling and sensitivity about the human condition given by the humanities, and someone learning the classics must understand the functioning of the modern world, to give what he or she is learning some significance.
How do the ideas on education of Locke, Jefferson and Mill relate to one another and to the importance of education for a democratic society such as our own?
Mills stress upon holistic knowledge is essential for a citizen in a democracy — today, a citizen must vote an elected official into office who can deal with the scientific complexities of global warming and healthcare, and can comprehend the intricacies of foreign cultures. To judge the knowledge base of our elected officials, citizens must also have a well-rounded basis of knowledge. That is why Thomas Jefferson believed so fervently in the need to educate all Americans in elementary schools, and all white, male Americans who could vote on a higher level, in grammar schools. Although he was very much a man of his time regarding the education of African-Americans and women, it is important to note that Jefferson believed in the importance of higher education for voters, although he did not try to increase access to those who could not afford such learning.
(Jefferson did believe in the need for some education for non-voters, like women and lower-class, non-property holders, but on a more limited level).
Jeffersons ideal politician was someone who was not a career politician, but entered politics as a respite from his real work. Thus, every citizen, just like in ancient Athens, who needed to be educated enough to serve as a public official. Jeffersons thoughts on education, just like his Declaration of Independence, reflects much of the English Empiricist John Lockes belief in the rights of all individuals to better themselves: Locke conceptualized the human mind as a blank slate, and thus education was necessary to formulate every citizen in body, mind, and character. A well-educated citizen creates a stronger nation because a democratic republic is built upon the decisions and knowledge base of its.