#1239 Original Argument

#1239 Original Argument

"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. 

#1238 Presidential Decorum

#1238 Presidential Decorum

"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.

Erasing the Past

Erasing the Past

A KKK hood over Jefferson’s head at one of the premier academic institutions of the United States? Columbia, I thought you taught your students to think, to discuss, to reflect, to ponder, to debate, to imagine, to explore rather than merely to posture in righteousness. Really, the students of Columbia are now joining the new American Culture of Outrage? I thought Columbia was above cliché.

#1237 More Listener Letters

#1237 More Listener Letters

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.

#1236 Listener Letters

#1236 Listener Letters

"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.

#1235 American Character

#1235 American Character

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.

Order a Pizza, Tie my Shoes, Sing in the Shower, Overdraw my Checking Account, Change a Printer Cartridge

Order a Pizza, Tie my Shoes, Sing in the Shower, Overdraw my Checking Account, Change a Printer Cartridge

Jefferson’s early biographer James Parton famously said the third president could “Calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin.” When I actually paused to read Parton’s statement carefully the other day, I realized, all over again, what a remarkable man Jefferson was.