common course of their education. They are 
taught what their parents or guardians judge 
it necessary or useful for them to learn, and 
they are taught nothing else. Every part of 
their education tends evidently to some useful 
purpose; either to improve the natural attractions 
of their person, or to form their mind 
to reserve, to modesty, to chastity, and to 
economy; to render them both likely to become 
the mistresses of a family, and to behave 
properly when they have become such. 
In every part of her life, a woman feels some 
conveniency or advantage from every part of 
her education. It seldom happens that a 
man, in any part of his life, derives any conveniency 
or advantage from some of the most 
laborious and troublesome parts of his education
Ought the public, therefore, to give no 
attention, it may be asked, to the education 
of the people? Or, if it ought to give any, 
what are the different parts of education 
which it ought to attend to in the different 
orders of the people? and in what manner 
ought it to attend to them? 
In some cases, the state of society necessarily 
places the greater part of individuals in 
such situations as naturally form in them, 
without any attention of government, almost 
all the abilities and virtues which that state 
requires, or perhaps can admit of. In other 
cases, the state of the society does not place 
the greater part of individuals in such situations
and some attention of government is 
necessary, in order to prevent the almost entire 
corruption and degeneracy of the great 
body of the people. 
In the progress of the division of labour, 
the employment of the far greater part of 
those who live by labour, that is, of the great 
body of the people, comes to be confined to 
a few very simple operations; frequently to 
one or two. But the understandings of the 
greater part of men are necessarily formed 
by their ordinary employments. The man 
whose whole life is spent in performing a few 
simple operations, of which the effects, too, 
are perhaps always the same, or very nearly 
the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding
or to exercise his invention, in 
finding out expedients for removing difficulties 
which never occur. He naturally loses, 
therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally 
becomes as stupid and ignorant as it 
is possible for a human creature to become. 
The torpor of his mind renders him not only 
incapable of relishing or bearing a part in 
any rational conversation, but of conceiving 
any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, 
and consequently of forming any just judgment 
concerning many even of the ordinary 
duties of private life. Of the great and extensive 
interests of his country he is altogether 
incapable of judging; and unless very 
particular pains have been taken to render 
him otherwise, he is equally incapable of defending 
his country in war. The uniformity 
of his stationary life naturally corrupts the 
courage of his mind, and makes him regard
with abhorrence, the irregular, uncertain, and 
adventurous life of a soldier. It corrupts 
even the activity of his body, and renders 
him incapable of exerting his strength with 
vigour and perseverance in any other employment, 
than that to which he has been bred
His dexterity at his own particular trade 
seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the 
expense of his intellectual, social, and martial 
virtues. But in every improved and civilized 
society, this is the state into which the labouring 
poor, that is, the great body of the 
people, must necessarily fall, unless government 
takes some pains to prevent it. 
It is otherwise in the barbarous societies, as 
they are commonly called, of hunters, of shepherds
and even of husbandmen in that rude 
state of husbandry which precedes the improvement 
of manufactures, and the extension 
of foreign commerce. In such societies, the 
varied occupations of every man oblige every 
man to exert his capacity, and to invent expedients 
for removing difficulties which are 
continually occurring. Invention is kept 
alive, and the mind is not suffered to fall into 
that drowsy stupidity, which, in a civilized 
society, seems to benumb the understanding 
of almost all the inferior ranks of people
In those barbarous societies, as they are called
every man, it has already been observed
is a warrior. Every man, too, is in some 
measure a statesman, and can form a tolerable 
judgment concerning the interest of the 
society, and the conduct of those who govern 
it. How far their chiefs are good judges in 
peace, or good leaders in war, is obvious to 
the observation of almost every single man 
among them. In such a society, indeed, no 
man can well acquire that improved and refined 
understanding which a few men sometimes 
possess in a more civilized state
Though in a rude society there is a good 
deal of variety in the occupations of every 
individual, there is not a great deal in those 
of the whole society. Every man does, or is 
capable of doing, almost every thing which 
any other man does, or is capable of doing. 
Every man has a considerable degree of 
knowledge, ingenuity, and invention; but 
scarce any man has a great degree. The degree
however, which is commonly possessed
is generally sufficient for conducting the 
whole simple business of the society. In a 
civilized state, on the contrary, though there 
is little variety in the occupations of the 
greater part of individuals, there is an almost 
infinite variety in those of the whole society
These varied occupations present an almost 
infinite variety of objects to the contemplation 
of those few, who, being attached to no 
particular occupation themselves, have leisure