A number of years ago I wrote a short book called Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century. It is my attempt to describe what it is to be a Jeffersonian, and how a more Jeffersonian America would re-invigorate our national politics and culture.
I'm very proud of the book. You can purchase it at Amazon.com, etc.
People have been asking me to record an audio version of the book for some time.
This afternoon I begin, with my friend David Swenson (semi-permanent guest host of the Thomas Jefferson Hour) at his award-winning Makoché Recording Studios in Bismarck, North Dakota. We cannot record the book in the New Enlightenment Radio Network barn in rural North Dakota because it is calving season, and we cannot have bawling calves and nervous-hostile mother cows disrupting our work.
We won't finish today, but we will finish in the next two weeks. Then, after some post-production tuning, the book will be ready for release and distribution.
We'll post a chapter of the book on our Thomas Jefferson Facebook site in the next few days. Watch for it.
By "Jeffersonian," I mean something like the following combination. A citizenry that reads books for pleasure and enlightenment; a more emphatic and committed public education system; a belief that "reason is our only oracle," and that science should be permitted to shape (even dictate) public policy; a deep commitment to civility, generosity of spirit, epistolary correspondence, and harmony; growing some of one's own food, if only a tomato and a patch of peas; a preference for temperance (wine) over intoxication; a deep and abiding curiosity; a commitment to international peace and non-violence; and an insistence that government should only do such things as it alone can do.
I begin the book by acknowledging that some parts of Jefferson's legacy are no longer acceptable to us: his racism, his sexism, slavery, his policies with respect to American Indians; but that to jettison Jeffersonianism just because Jefferson was an imperfect human being is little short of insanity.
Each chapter begins with a sustained quotation from Jefferson. Then I have written a short essay describing how that characteristic or passion represents the Jeffersonian Enlightenment.
It's exciting to be getting this book into audio. I'm also intending to release an audio version of my book about Meriwether Lewis, and one of my most recent set of essays about the Great Plains and North Dakota.
Stay tuned. Great things are happening at the Thomas Jefferson Hour.
- Becoming Jefferson's People: Re-Inventing the American Republic in the Twenty-First Century by Clay S. Jenkinson (Audiobook) (Amazon)
- The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness by Clay S. Jenkinson
- For the Love of North Dakota and Other Essays: Sundays with Clay in the Bismarck Tribune by Clay S. Jenkinson
- Message on the Wind: A Spiritual Odyssey on the Northern Plains by Clay S. Jenkinson
- Read Jefferson’s magnificent First Inaugural Address of March 4, 1801.