Episode

#1334 Benjamin Rush with Stephen Fried

#1334 Benjamin Rush with Stephen Fried

"He and Jefferson talked about everything."

— Stephen Fried

Benjamin Rush was a physician, politician, social reformer, humanitarian, educator, and a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Rush was a leader of the American Enlightenment and an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution. Born the son of a Philadelphia blacksmith, Rush touched virtually every page in the story of the nation’s founding. It was Rush who was responsible for the late-in-life reconciliation between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This week we speak with the author Stephen Fried about his new book, Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father.

#1333 The Constitution Today

#1333 The Constitution Today

"I don't think, from my point of view, you can think that the Constitution is sacred."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss Akhil Reed Amar's The Constitution Today, a selection for the Book Club, which contains essays written by Amar over the past two decades. Amar gives us a road map for thinking constitutionally about today’s America.

#1332 Smallpox

#1332 Smallpox

“Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to [the smallpox vaccine's] efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my countrymen.”

— Thomas Jefferson, 1806

Jefferson talks about his own smallpox inoculation, as well as John Adams’ experience. Jefferson admired Dr. Edward Jenner, the physician and scientist who was a pioneer of smallpox vaccination. Smallpox killed millions of people during Jefferson’s time, and continued to do so until the 20th century. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.

#1331 Young Washington with Peter Stark

#1331 Young Washington with Peter Stark

"The French ... thought it was an assassination, a war crime, that Washington was a murderer."

— Peter Stark

We speak with Peter Stark, author of Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father.

We discuss George Washington’s formative years and character traits, his travels into the Ohio country, and his relationship with lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie. We talk about how Washington’s involvement in the Battle of Jumonville Glen touched off the French and Indian War.

#1330 Wilderness and War

#1330 Wilderness and War

"This book reveals [Washington] as a man of emotion, raw emotion."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

In anticipation of our conversation next week with Peter Stark, the author of Young Washington, we speak with Jefferson about our first president. Jefferson also comments on the time change, and the importance of using available daylight.

#1329 Laboratories of Democracy

#1329 Laboratories of Democracy

"I am a loyal, proud, cheerleading sort of North Dakotan."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

A listener in Texas admonishes Clay for offering to give up a North Dakota senate seat, and we take questions about the Fourteenth Amendment. Our constitutional discussions continue by reading additional correspondence from listeners.

#1328 Constitutional Correspondence

#1328 Constitutional Correspondence

"What would fix this country? Almost the number one thing would be: take money out of politics."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We continue our current theme of constitutional discussions by reading and considering listener mail, including a number of specific suggestions for constitutional amendments.

#1327 Complex Compromises

#1327 Complex Compromises

Jefferson answers questions about the Constitution, including topics like presidential pardon power, natural-born citizen requirements, and the constitutionality of signing statements.

#1326 No Just Government Should Refuse

#1326 No Just Government Should Refuse

"Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse or rest on inference."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

President Jefferson answers a number of listener questions about the United States Constitution. We discuss the meaning of Article V, how much of the document is open to interpretation, and the idea of amending the Constitution every generation.

#1325 Pax Americana

#1325 Pax Americana

We answer listener questions this week, and the most mail we received was about Robert Kagan's new book, The Jungle Grows Back, which Tom Friedman of The New York Times called "An incisive, elegantly written, new book about America’s unique role in the world."

#1324 Lochsa

#1324 Lochsa

"nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1821

Clay Jenkinson returns from his cultural retreat held at Lochsa Lodge in Idaho last week and reports in on this year's meetings. Also, perhaps prompted by the 50th anniversary of the famous Beatles "rooftop concert," we wander into a short conversation about pop music, and discuss the recent extreme cold weather along with how Jefferson is co-opted by many of us without paying enough attention to the historical record.

#1323 The Only Security of All Is in a Free Press

#1323 The Only Security of All Is in a Free Press

"were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

This week we discuss the importance of a free press with President Jefferson.

#1322 Roosevelt and Jefferson

#1322 Roosevelt and Jefferson

"Few people grow in office; few people grow in life. Roosevelt grew in life. He became more interesting, more sensitive, more thoughtful ... [Roosevelt] became more enlightened as time went on."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Prompted by a listener request, and recognizing the 100th anniversary Theodore Roosevelt’s death, this week Clay Jenkinson discusses the differences, and a few similarities, between Roosevelt and Jefferson.

#1321 January First

#1321 January First

January 1st was an important day to Thomas Jefferson for many reasons. This week, we speak with President Jefferson about notable New Year's Day occurrences during his life.

#1320 Looking Forward

#1320 Looking Forward

"It's going to be a pivotal year in American history."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look forward to 2019 and discuss some of the episode topics that have been suggested to us by the Fans of the Thomas Jefferson Hour group on Facebook.

#1319 Looking Back

#1319 Looking Back

"I really loved the year 2018, but I'm even more looking forward to the year 2019."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look back at 2018 and wish everyone a happy New Year. This episode is our chance to revisit all of the great conversations we've had about Jefferson in 2018.

#1318 Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian?

#1318 Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian?

"I believe so strongly that Jefferson was right about separation of church and state."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

We wish all a Merry Christmas from The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which, as it turns out, is perhaps more than Thomas Jefferson would have done. Jefferson was not a believer in celebrating Christmas in a traditional fashion and felt it should not be a national holiday.

#1317 Madison's Letters

#1317 Madison's Letters

"Jefferson yielded to Madison's stronger concern. He needed him and he trusted him."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

#1316 James Madison (Part Two)

#1316 James Madison (Part Two)

"to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."

— James Madison

We discuss James Madison again this week, President Jefferson's good friend and ally. The question is, what is America? Is it a compact of sovereign states? Or is it as a nation state whose constitution begins with the words, "We the People"?