"I never traveled farther than about 75 miles west of my birthplace. I never really saw the other side of the Appalachian Mountains."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
Some of the things Jefferson did were not designed to make a statement about democracy or self-government. In some respects, Jefferson was just weird.
I’m trying to imagine a dinner party hosted by Thomas Jefferson. Perfect food, cooked in the Avant Garde French fashion, and a flight of fine wines. And Jefferson presiding, a man of perfect manners who seems to have no discernible ego.
Nobody has ever put forward the slightest piece of credible evidence that Lewis was murdered.
Here’s the constitutional crisis, what might even be called the constitutional nightmare of our time. The current president is now insisting that members of the executive branch will not be permitted to testify before Congress.
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.
"Mayor Pete of South Bend is saying that he would welcome certain erasures of Jefferson from our public discourse." — Clay S. Jenkinson
Clay has returned from his recent travels and his search for America, and he updates us on that trip. We answer listener mail, including responses to the recent show, #1344 Baked In.
"He's never happier than when he can recommend a course of reading to somebody else."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
President Jefferson tells us what books he might recommend to juvenile readers, and it turns out to be a fairly limited list. He does, however, recommend Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe.
All hail Jefferson for the patience and persistence he showed in vindicating the American experiment, and letting Napoleon suggest the purchase as a way of solving some of his own pressing problems. Jefferson could not have done what I am doing. He was too civilized. I wonder how often he bathed? We know he had severe digestive problems. That had to be a mess in an age before toilets and ready hot water. You want to have robust pipes for a journey like this.
"He was drest, or rather undrest, with an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy small clothes, much soiled-woolen hose-and slippers without heels."
— William Plumer, 1802
This week we talk about Thomas Jefferson’s talent for political theater, and the ways he used this talent to reinforce the public perception of his firm beliefs in republicanism and guard against what he saw as a threat of monarchy in the young nation.
Sundays always remind me of my father Charles Everett Jenkinson. He has been dead for a quarter of a century now, but on Sundays I often miss him acutely. But he would never come on such a trip, not for all the money in the world. He thought camping was very silly: why jettison ten thousand years of improvements in comfort to sleep under a tree?
When I stepped out, all I saw was a billion stars above the pine trees. That alone made the trip satisfying. There are few sounds more satisfying than a breeze in pine trees. It is a different sound from breeze in cottonwoods. They thwattle and click, because the dance of the leaves makes them bump into each other.