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‘Thomas Jefferson’s Education’ and ‘Educated in Tyranny’ Review: The Dream of a Better Society

Posted by Jean-Yves on Oct 8, 2019

In 1779, as part of a package of reforms, Virginia Gov. Thomas Jefferson proposed new penalties for dueling, which had become a favorite pastime of the students at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. “Whosoever committeth murder by way of duel,” the proposed law read, “shall suffer death by hanging; and if he were the challenger, his body, after death, shall be gibbeted.”

Gibbeting has fallen out of favor in our time (thank goodness), so Alan Taylor reminds us of what the term once meant. The gibbeted body of an executed criminal, he writes in “Thomas Jefferson’s Education,” would be “displayed to rot in an elevated cage as a grim example to deter others.”

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