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The Thomas Jefferson Hour

The Thomas Jefferson Hour features conversations with Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, as portrayed by the award-winning humanities scholar and author, Clay Jenkinson. The weekly discussion features Mr. Jefferson’s views on events of his time, contemporary issues facing America and answers to questions submitted by his many listeners. To ask President Jefferson a question visit his website at www.jeffersonhour.com
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Apr 16, 2019

"He and Jefferson talked about everything."

— Stephen Fried

Benjamin Rush was a physician, politician, social reformer, humanitarian, educator, and a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Rush was a leader of the American Enlightenment and an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution. Born the son of a Philadelphia blacksmith, Rush touched virtually every page in the story of the nation’s founding. It was Rush who was responsible for the late-in-life reconciliation between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This week we speak with the author Stephen Fried about his new book, Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Apr 9, 2019

"I don't think, from my point of view, you can think that the Constitution is sacred."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss Akhil Reed Amar's The Constitution Today, a selection for the Book Club, which contains essays written by Amar over the past two decades. Amar gives us a road map for thinking constitutionally about today’s America.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Apr 4, 2019

I confess that I did in fact think that more indictments were coming, perhaps even within the Trump family. I did think that Special Prosecutor Mueller would conclude that the Trump organization conspired with the Russians to influence the election. I was plainly wrong.

We haven’t seen the Mueller report yet. I expect that it will simultaneously confirm everyone’s worst fears and yet in a technical-legal sense exonerate the President. It will simultaneously please and displease everyone.

You can call me one of the deplorables, but I am absolutely certain you cannot make the case that the third President would find anything to admire in the 45th.

You can read this Jefferson Watch essay on the blog.

Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Apr 2, 2019

"Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to [the smallpox vaccine's] efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my countrymen."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1806

Jefferson talks about his own smallpox inoculation, as well as John Adams’ experience. Jefferson admired Dr. Edward Jenner, the physician and scientist who was a pioneer of smallpox vaccination. Smallpox killed millions of people during Jefferson’s time, and continued to do so until the 20th century. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 29, 2019

"I would have liked to have had Canada. Twice, we invaded Canada during my lifetime, and failed on both occasions."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 26, 2019

"The French ... thought it was an assassination, a war crime, that Washington was a murderer."

— Peter Stark

We speak with Peter Stark, author of Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father.

We discuss George Washington’s formative years and character traits, his travels into the Ohio country, and his relationship with lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie. We talk about how Washington’s involvement in the Battle of Jumonville Glen touched off the French and Indian War.

As a historian, Stark's writing focuses on adventure and exploration. A traveler himself, Stark is a long-time correspondent for Outside magazine. His 2014 book, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire, was a New York Times bestseller.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 19, 2019

"This book reveals [Washington] as a man of emotion, raw emotion."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

In anticipation of our conversation next week with Peter Stark, the author of Young Washington, we speak with Jefferson about our first president. Jefferson also comments on the time change, and the importance of using available daylight.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 12, 2019

"I am a loyal, proud, cheerleading sort of North Dakotan."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

A listener in Texas admonishes Clay for offering to give up a North Dakota senate seat, and we take questions about the Fourteenth Amendment. Our constitutional discussions continue by reading additional correspondence from listeners.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 5, 2019

"What would fix this country? Almost the number one thing would be: take money out of politics."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We continue our current theme of constitutional discussions by reading and considering listener mail, including a number of specific suggestions for constitutional amendments. We also share a report from a listener who visited Monticello when Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were there.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Mar 1, 2019

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Feb 26, 2019

Jefferson answers questions about the Constitution, including topics like presidential pardon power, natural-born citizen requirements, and the constitutionality of signing statements.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Feb 19, 2019

"Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse or rest on inference." — Thomas Jefferson, 1787

President Jefferson answers a number of listener questions about the United States Constitution. We discuss the meaning of Article V, how much of the document is open to interpretation, and the idea of amending the Constitution every generation.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Feb 12, 2019

We answer listener questions this week, and we identify a specific melon seed that Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Monticello, mentioned on a past episode. We also discuss Clay’s new ukulele. The most mail we received was about Robert Kagan's new book, The Jungle Grows Back, which Tom Friedman of The New York Times called "An incisive, elegantly written, new book about America’s unique role in the world."

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

 

Feb 5, 2019

"nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free." — Thomas Jefferson, 1821

Clay Jenkinson returns from his cultural retreat held at Lochsa Lodge in Idaho last week and reports in on this year's meetings. Also, perhaps prompted by the 50th anniversary of the famous Beatles "rooftop concert," we wander into a short conversation about pop music, and discuss the recent extreme cold weather along with how Jefferson is co-opted by many of us without paying enough attention to the historical record.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 29, 2019

"were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

This week we discuss the importance of a free press with President Jefferson.

On November 4, 1823 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Marquis de Lafayette that "the only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure."

In January of 1816 Jefferson wrote to Colonel Charles Yancey, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 22, 2019

"Few people grow in office; few people grow in life. Roosevelt grew in life. He became more interesting, more sensitive, more thoughtful ... [Roosevelt] became more enlightened as time went on."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Prompted by a listener request, and recognizing the 100th anniversary Theodore Roosevelt’s death, this week Clay Jenkinson discusses the differences, and a few similarities, between Roosevelt and Jefferson. 

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 18, 2019

"There must be a better way for the political factions of your time to sort out their differences." — Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 15, 2019

January 1st was an important day to Thomas Jefferson for many reasons. This week, we speak with President Jefferson about notable New Year's Day occurrences during his life, including his wedding, his famous "wall of separation between church and state" letter to the Danbury Baptists, and the beginning of his famous correspondence with John Adams during the last years of their lives. We also tell the story of "the world's largest cheese" that Jefferson received while President.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 8, 2019

"It's going to be a pivotal year in American history." - Clay S. Jenkinson

We look forward to 2019 and discuss some of the episode topics that have been suggested to us by the Fans of the Thomas Jefferson Hour group on Facebook.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jan 1, 2019

"I really loved the year 2018, but I'm even more looking forward to the year 2019."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look back at 2018 and wish everyone a happy New Year. This episode is our chance to revisit all of the great conversations we've had about Jefferson in 2018.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Dec 25, 2018
"I believe so strongly that Jefferson was right about separation of church and state." — Clay S. Jenkinson
 
We wish all a Merry Christmas from The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which, as it turns out, is perhaps more than Thomas Jefferson would have done. Jefferson was not a believer in celebrating Christmas in a traditional fashion and felt it should not be a national holiday.
 
This episode features questions from Billie Rose Paxton Einselen, Paul South, Jacob Clark, Jeff Chun, Joe Gotchy, Ian Adams, Cheryl Masters, Jason Eisenhut, and Zena Thorpe.
 
Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.
Dec 21, 2018

"We couldn't allow a French national to be here, stirring up anti-administration feeling in this country, or fitting out privateers in our wars." — Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson 

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Dec 18, 2018

"Jefferson yielded to Madison's stronger concern. He needed him and he trusted him." — Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay and David discuss a number of letters between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison that reveal their working relationship, their friendship, and how Madison protected Jefferson politically.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Dec 14, 2018

"You can have all the information in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you have a mental matrix with which to absorb it, evaluate it, analyze it, begin to synthesize it. That's why we go to college." — Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Dec 11, 2018

"to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression." — James Madison

We discuss James Madison again this week, President Jefferson's good friend and ally. Madison was the de facto father of the American Constitution. We look at his preparation, his advocacy of the Virginia Plan, and his work to try to ratify this somewhat imperfect instrument. We talked a great deal with President Jefferson about the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson wasn't there, but Madison kept him apprised of progress. Madison wanted a more centralized national government than Jefferson was comfortable with. Jefferson believed in the 10th amendment: that powers not delegated to the national government belong to the states, which is something that haunts us to this day because of its vagueness. The question is, what is America? Is it a compact of sovereign states? Or is it as a nation state whose constitution begins with the words, "We the People"?

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog. Support the show by joining the 1776 Club or by donating to the Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. You can learn more about our Cultural Tours & Retreats with Clay S. Jenkinson at jeffersonhour.com/tours. Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

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