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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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Now displaying: April, 2017
Apr 25, 2017

This week, we speak with Pat Brodowski, head gardener at Jefferson’s Monticello. Pat shares her knowledge about how and why Jefferson grew the plants he did, the experimental nature of the household gardens and what is being done to maintain the gardens during our time. It’s a fascinating conversation which provides some real insight on Jefferson the gardener.

Find this episode, along with photos of Pat Brodowski and the gardens of Monticello, 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.

Apr 18, 2017

"The constitution ... is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please." — Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819

Thomas Jefferson had a unique and slightly odd view of the proper place of the judicial branch in America. He thought of judicial independence as both a strength and a weakness of our system: you want judges that are independent of popular factionalism but you want them to be accountable to the sovereign, to the American people. Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson, discusses his concept of judicial balance, his lifelong displeasure with the Supreme Court, and some of the changes that he thinks should be made. He said of life-tenured judges, 'Few die and none resign.'

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

Read Clay's Jefferson Watch essay, "Good News for America".

Clay will be performing as Thomas Jefferson at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, VA on April 19th. Find more info and buy tickets here.

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

Apr 11, 2017

"The Vice Presidency turned out to be just what Jefferson had predicted: 'philosophic evenings in winter' and summers at his beloved Monticello." — Clay

This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, we return to "Jefferson 101", our biographical series. Reluctantly, Jefferson came out of retirement to serve as vice president for four years under his old friend John Adams. They were of different political persuasions and they, in a sense, became the heads of different political parties. Adams & Jefferson were friends when Jefferson's vice presidency began but there was a long period afterwards when they couldn't really abide each other; in the end, in 1812, their friendship was restored and it became one of the great reconciliations of American history. During his vice presidency, Jefferson contributed a rule book to the Senate: A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States.

Jefferson meant it: He preferred the happiness of Monticello to the burdens of power — but he loved this country more than he loved his own happiness.

This is Jefferson 118.

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

Read Clay's Jefferson Watch essay, "A Cul-de-Sac and a Bucket of Piss".

Clay will be performing as Thomas Jefferson at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, VA on April 19th. Find more info and buy tickets here.

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

Apr 4, 2017

"Jefferson regarded the national debt as a national disgrace."

This week, President Jefferson (as portrayed by humanities scholar Clay S. Jenkinson) explains his reasoning behind his federal budget and why he felt it was essential to pay down the national debt that he inherited. We also learn about some of the people who helped Jefferson develop the budget, including Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin.

Jefferson dedicated his administration to reducing the national debt as severely as possible. As always, there are parallels between Jefferson's time and ours. He wanted to cut taxes and the size of the federal government, but he also wanted to cut the size of the Army and Navy; you don't hear that kind of talk much in our time. In this case, Jefferson was an idealogue about fiscal responsibility.

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

Read Clay's Jefferson Watch essay, "The Most Jeffersonian Thing in America".

Clay will be performing as Thomas Jefferson at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, VA on April 19th. Find more info and buy tickets here.

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

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