Copyright 2005 Mark Cole
Over years in America and west generally, nature and means of education have dramatically changed. But it is an error to think that before contemporary era of schooling on a mass scale that no one was deeply or broadly educated. Many in colonial America were exceptionally well-educated, yet largely self-taught or taught by a tutor or mentor. Such was case with scientist, lawyer, theologian, statesman, patriot and father of seven, Roger Sherman.
In his astonishingly productive life as one of leading citizens of colonial America, Sherman studied privately with Rev. Samuel Danbar, worked as a shoemaker and then as a land surveyor and an author of an almanac filled with astronomical calculations. He read for bar (as was custom of his day) and became a lawyer, though he did not earn a college degree. He also read deeply in theology and received an honorary degree from Yale, where he became treasurer. He was even a professor of religion for many years.
Sherman was widely respected and known in Connecticut, as a list of legislative, judicial and executive positions to which he was elected demonstrates: both houses of Connecticut legislature, justice of peace, judge of Superior Court of Connecticut, member of Continental Congress, delegate to Constitutional Convention, Mayor of New Haven, member of United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.
Sherman is only member of Continental Congress who signed Articles of Association of 1774, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and United States Constitution. He died at age of 71 and was buried near his beloved Yale. Not bad for a man who was not a college graduate.
That is all well and good; but, you are likely asking, what does life of Sherman mean for us today? I think a few things: