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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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Oct 17, 2017

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

— Samuel Johnson

We speak with President Thomas Jefferson about patriotism and Jefferson’s concept of what it is to be truly free.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Support the show by joining the 1776 Club.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Oct 10, 2017

Prompted by a listener letter, Clay answers the question, “If Thomas Jefferson appeared before you today, what would you want to show him from our time?”

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Support the show by joining the 1776 Club.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Oct 3, 2017

"Nobody ever used the English language to greater effect than William Shakespeare."

— Clay

Clay discusses his new show, "Clay Jenkinson's Shakespeare the Magic of the Word" — which held its world premiere in Norfolk, VA in September — and shares Jefferson's thoughts and regard for the work of William Shakespeare.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Support the show by joining the 1776 Club.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Sep 26, 2017

"Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight."

— Thomas Jefferson

We return to the Jefferson 101 biographical series and explore Jefferson’s second term as President. We discuss the many difficulties he had, including the Burr conspiracy and the Embargo Act of 1807 to 1809.

This is Jefferson 121.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Support the show by joining the 1776 Club.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Sep 19, 2017

"I am more candid in your era than I ever would have been in mine."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we speak with President Jefferson about his hospitality and good manners. In her book, The First Forty Years of Washington Society Margaret Bayard Smith quotes federalist Supreme Court Justice William Paterson’s opinion of Thomas Jefferson. Of Jefferson he said,  “No man can be personally acquainted with Mr. Jefferson and remain his personal enemy."

Clay Jenkinson’s "Shakespeare and the Magic of the Word" will premiere in Norfolk, VA, Friday, September 22 at 8 PM. You can purchase tickets at the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center one hour before the show, in advance by calling: 757-822-1450 or order online. Don't forget to RSVP on Facebook!

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Sep 12, 2017

"If the three federal branches can't stop themselves from doing appalling things, a fourth entity exists, and that's the states."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, states' rights, and the need for checks and balances within the federal government.

Clay Jenkinson’s "Shakespeare the Magic of the Word" will premiere in Norfolk, VA, Friday, September 22 at 8 PM. You can purchase tickets at the TCC Roper Performing Arts Center one hour before the show, in advance by calling: 757-822-1450 or order online.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Sep 6, 2017

"How can you call yourself a Jeffersonian if you don't go see [the eclipse]?"

— Clay

Clay takes us on a road trip to Wyoming to witness the eclipse. Later in the episode, David Nicandri phones in to report on his experience.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Aug 29, 2017

Responding to a flood of emails from listeners, this week an out-of-character program discussing the recent events at Charlottesville.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Aug 22, 2017

"I'm trying to explain to you and to your listeners what makes for a happy life."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Thomas Jefferson speaks about Monticello, his private and daily habits, his compulsiveness and how his Virginian hospitality cost him a personal fortune.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Aug 14, 2017

"Of all of the people of this era, there is one and only one huge paradox, and it's Thomas Jefferson."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay shares his first impressions of John B. Boles' new book, Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty.

Find this episode, along with recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Aug 7, 2017

"The bureaucracy can actually serve a really valuable purpose."

— Beau Wright, Director of Operations at United to Protect Democracy

In an out-of-character program, Clay reports on this year's Lewis & Clark cultural tour. Later, we're joined by Beau Wright who reports on his recent visits to Jefferson’s Poplar Forest home and the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jul 31, 2017

“This thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine.” — Prospero, The Tempest

This week Clay Jenkinson speaks about Thomas Jefferson and slavery.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jul 24, 2017

"The Founding Fathers intended a free nation in which you could choose your religion."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

After a short discussion about weather, President Jefferson addresses a question about his ownership of a copy of the Quran. Jefferson goes on to explain his views on the importance of religious freedom. In the out-of-character portion of the show, Clay and David are joined by Brad Crisler.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jul 18, 2017

"Really? You don't think Jefferson has a geopolitical plan here?"

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we return to the Jefferson 101 series and discuss Jefferson’s first term as President. In particular, we discuss the Barbary pirates, the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jul 11, 2017

"You can object to anybody's politics, but I firmly believe that you can't object to President Obama's character."

— Beau Wright

President Thomas Jefferson speaks about the White House — during his time and ours — with this week's special guest, Beau Wright. Wright spent over five years serving in the White House, nearly two years of that time as Senior Deputy Director of White House Operations and Director for Finance.

Beau Wright is currently Director of Operations for United to Protect Democracy.

Find this episode on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jul 3, 2017

We speak with President Jefferson this week in our annual 4th of July Show. Jefferson shares his thoughts on why the holiday is so important to Americans and recalls how it was celebrated during his time. We also speak to Gaye Wilson, the Shannon Senior Historian at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and Pat Brodowski, specialty gardener at Monticello who tell us about the celebrations being held at Monticello.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jun 27, 2017

"I think that's what Jefferson's attitude was: 'I'd rather not, but I'm probably the best person to do it.'"

— Clay

We return to our Jefferson 101 series this week with an episode about Jefferson’s road to the White House. Over the past few months, we've carried Jefferson from his birth in Virginia in 1743 right up to the brink of the time when he became the third president of the United States. We take for granted how our elections work. Back then, they didn't really have a blueprint: no conventions, no caucuses, no primaries, no debates. It was an informal system and we try to sort out how a reluctant person like Jefferson winds up being the president.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jun 20, 2017

"The question then became: Is a national bank constitutional? Did the Founding Fathers contemplate a national bank?"

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we discuss the argument between Alexander Hamilton and Jefferson over the creation of a national bank of the United States. Hamilton believed a central banking system was essential to America's standing in the world. Jefferson disagreed, arguing that to take a single step beyond the powers of the constitution is to enter a field of boundless abuse. We speak with Jefferson about President Washington's support of Hamilton’s plan, a decision with ramifications that affect Americans to this day.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jun 13, 2017

"I never like to be rude, but sometimes one has to set the precedent for a society that will shock the world."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we discuss diplomacy and presidential decorum. When the British Ambassador Anthony Merry came to the White House, Jefferson went out of his way to be rude: to make it clear that the Revolution was won by us, not them.

In 1792, Jefferson wrote to George Washington: "No government ought to be without censors: and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defence. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth either in religion, law, or politics."

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

Jun 6, 2017

"I was always happiest when I could direct the reading of a promising young man."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

Here at the Jefferson Hour, we love our listener mail. We try to answer as many letters as possible because they help us to open up new avenues of discourse. This week, we devote another episode to answering listener questions. Subjects covered include civil discourse, the virtues of France, Jefferson’s suggested reading of the classics and John Adam’s midnight appointments.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

May 30, 2017

"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth."

— Thomas Jefferson

This week, the entire episode — well, almost the entire episode — is devoted to answering letters from listeners. Questions received include the story of Jefferson’s many talents, whether or not Jefferson had a bust of Alexander Hamilton at Monticello, and how to re-create experiments from Jefferson’s age.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

May 23, 2017

"We have now a goodly field before us, & I have no wish superior to that of seeing it judiciously cultivated; that every Man, especially those who have labored to prepare it, may reap a fruitful Harvest”

— George Washington, 1784

Nearly 50 years later, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

This week we discuss the American character with President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson believed that the American character would be the best in the history of the world: because of our agrarianism, our distance from the havoc of the Old World, our public education, and our resourcefulness that we needed to develop because there were no outside experts. While Adams felt that without a strong American character, "the strongest Cords of our Constitution [would be broken] as a Whale goes through a Net." John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were dear friends; they disagreed about many things. One thing they agreed upon was that this experiment would only work if we had unique character.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson.

May 16, 2017

"[Thomas Jefferson] could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play a violin." — James Parton, 1874

This week, we ask President Jefferson to confirm or deny these reported talents.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Thomas Jefferson is interpreted by Clay S. Jenkinson

May 9, 2017

"Somewhere in Jefferson, something happened where the European mindset turned and started looking to the west. He started looking toward possibility in a different way." — Kent Nerburn

We welcome two special guests to the Thomas Jefferson Hour this week for an out-of-character discussion about Jefferson’s policies towards Native Americans. Joining us are the independent filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson and author Kent Nerburn. We talk about Simpson's recent film adaptation of Nerburn’s book, “Neither Wolf nor Dog”, and about Jefferson’s long shadow when it comes to the United States' conduct regarding American Indians.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net. There, you can also find the Lochsa Lodge retreats: one on Walden and another on Shakespeare.

Steven Lewis Simpson, at 18, was the youngest fully-qualified stockbroker and trader in Britain. By 22, Simpson had moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry.  He is now a writer, producer, and director, as well as the owner of Roaring Fire Films. You can read his full bio here. Visit Roaring Fire Films to sign up for the Neither Wolf nor Dog movie mailing list.

Kent Nerburn is the author of more than a dozen books, including Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder. He was born, raised and resides in Minnesota. You can learn more about him here, or read his bibliography which includes links to purchase his books.

May 2, 2017

"Jefferson embodies — in many respects, not in all of them — the world that I want to live in. I want to live in Thomas Jefferson's America." — Clay

This week, we discuss listener questions about architecture, Sally Hemings, revolutionary war, Jefferson as a scientist, recommended books and how Clay's life has been affected by performing as Thomas Jefferson.

Find this episode, along with further recommended reading, on the blog.

Clay will be taking part in a Conversation at Bismarck State College with BSC President Larry Skogen on May 7th at 3 p.m. They'll be discussing the topic: "The Quincentennial of the Protestant Reformation: A Reevaluation of the Reformation (1517-1650)". You can learn more at bismarckstate.edu.

Learn more about Odyssey Tours and the summer 2017 Lewis & Clark adventure on odytours.net.

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