A Message from Clay

Hello everyone, and welcome to the new and reworked Thomas Jefferson Hour website. If you have come to this site in the past you know that I'm not very good about keeping up with blog comments, etc. But we routinely post my weekly newspaper column from the Bismarck Tribune, and a range of other things that I work on.

It has been an amazing and exhausting year and its only May. I finished one book on Theodore Roosevelt in April. In fact, tomorrow I look at the page proofs in preparation for releasing it to the printing press. The other book is a massive study of Meriwether Lewis, which I am wrapping up this week. All that remain are a few cuts and clarifications, and footnotes. The footnotes will take a couple of days of very hard work, but I will get them done.

I'm leaving on Monday next for a two week cultural tour in Great Britain. We are sailing over on the Queen Mary. Then five days in Shakespeare's England. So I will be filling newspaper columns from abroad, if the digital world permits, and I will try to record some audio too. One of my onboard lectures is on the Founding Fathers and England, and in particular the trip Jefferson took with John Adams through the home counties of Britain in 1786.

Thanks for listening to the Jefferson Hour. As the world moves into what feels like a new dark ages, I think we need the clarifying and rational voice of Jefferson now more than ever. As America's greatest exemplar of the Enlightenment, Jefferson believed:

1. That the world is understandable.

2. That science teaches us about "Nature and Nature's God," and that invariably gives us the right path as we address the problems of life.

3. That humans are capable of reason and should strive to be rational at all times.

4. That while we cannot achieve a utopia of perfect equality, we can move a great distance in that direction if we dedicate our culture to the ideals of life rather than to protecting property and privilege.

5. That governments exist to fulfill the will of the people, not privileged minorities, or a self-appointed aristocracy of money or merit.

6. That life is to a very large degree perfectible, if we will only educate our children up to their capacity, and imbue them with critical thinking skills.

Those are my principles too. That's why I perform as Thomas Jefferson. I believe that the United States would be almost infinitely better off if we pursued Jeffersonian values and backed away from Hamiltonian ones (or worse). The voice of Jefferson is almost entirely lost in our time. My goal is to help keep alive what Jefferson called "that sacred fire" in any way I can, however small the impact.

Keep listening.