"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
We discuss Jefferson’s only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson completed his first draft of the book in 1781 and first published it anonymously in Paris in 1785. It is widely considered the most important American book published before 1800.
"I'm like everyone else, I'm in the middle. I see some benefits on both edges of the spectrum, but I don't want either of them to prevail."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
Clay S. Jenkinson asked listeners to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how alarmed they are about the current state of political affairs in the United States. Rather than just giving a number, many listeners responded with many thoughtful letters. This week we share and read portions from 17 of those letters.
"Can we talk? Can we try to argue about where we are and where we're going and use the founders as a source of wisdom that might allow us to have a safe place to meet and to talk about this with civility, but with fervor?"
— Joseph J. Ellis
Clay and David discuss how to conduct better arguments, and also speak with author Joseph Ellis to talk about his new book American Dialogue, which will be released this fall.
I get so tired of the Sally Hemings story. At almost every public presentation I give in the costume and character of Thomas Jefferson, someone sashays up to the microphone in the aisle and says, “Tell us about Sally Henning” or some other slight botching of her name.