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Listening to America with Clay Jenkinson

Listening to America aims to “light out for the territories,” traveling less visited byways and taking time to see this immense, extraordinary country with fresh eyes while listening to the many voices of America’s past, present, and future. Led by noted historian and humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson, Listening to America travels the country’s less visited byways, from national parks and forests to historic sites to countless under-recognized rural and urban places. Through this exploration, Clay and team find and tell the overlooked historical and contemporary stories that shape America’s people and places.
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Listening to America with Clay Jenkinson
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Feb 26, 2024

Guest host David Horton of Virginia leads a discussion with Clay Jenkinson about the difference between Constitutional requirements and what are called presidential norms. George Washington, for example, did not shake hands with the American people. He held formal levees once a week. Jefferson regarded those as monarchical habits and he performed a series of acts of political theater to tone down the presidency during his two terms. Nothing in the Constitution requires the outgoing president to attend his successor’s inauguration, but it is an established American norm, and when that norm and others are violated, it weakens the fabric of the American republic. David and Clay talk about the presidencies of the two Roosevelts, both of whom enjoyed expanding the powers of the presidency, and of course the disruptive events of the last ten years.

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