U.S. Sen. John Randolph (1773-1833), of Roanoke, Virginia, was known for voting NO on virtually every bill presented to him. This, apparently, accurately reflected his acerbic personality.

Randolph was, however, fairly rich. So, along with statesman Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina, he was approached by Methodists with a proposal to donate money for the formation of a new college, and was somehow convinced to do so. (The college became Randolph-Macon College, now located in Ashland, VA.)

Seeing the Methodists start up a school, the Baptists decided they wanted one too. So, as the story goes, a couple of Baptist preachers approached Sen. Randolph with their proposal. Randolph heard them out, with their justification apparently going something like "Hey, you donated money to the Methodists to let them educate their young men; why can't you do the same for us so we can educate ours as well?" Randolph's reply went:

"But, my dear sir, if you educate them, they will no longer be Baptists."


Although it has nothing to do with the American Civil War, this is still part of the HIST 3055-56: Civil War and Reconstruction at Virginia Tech series. Dr. James Robertson, professor of the course, is a Randolph-Macon alumnus, and proud of it. Ironically, he says the Baptist groups he speaks to on the lecture circuit are the ones who always laugh the hardest at this joke.

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