"I'm glad that the executive branch has been allowed to be sovereign in its own duties."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
Over the past few days I have had the wonderful guilty pleasure of sitting down to read Robinson Crusoe cover to cover. I know I should have been doing other things, some of them pressing, but I just sat there and read this famous and fabulous account of a man who is shipwrecked on a small island off of Venezuela and spends 28 years there, 26 alone with a parrot and some semi-domesticated flocks of goats.
My core conviction is that the American people are less divided than they seem. That the American people are hungry for something more authentic in the national arena. That people are more reasonable and open-minded than they seem.
Civilized nations enact reasonable laws to prevent create a more perfect union, encourage domestic tranquility, secure the lives and fortune of their citizens, and prevent mayhem.
Drifting down the river in the afternoon, gazing up at the blue blue sky, slipping past golden eagles as if they were sparrows or wrens, examining the famous White Cliffs that Lewis said had the feeling of “scenes of visionary enchantment,” and at times just pulling the paddles into the canoe to feel the gentle but inexorable tug of the continent, this too is paradise on earth.
I thank God that I was alive when it happened. It was surely the greatest human achievement in my lifetime, one of the handful of greatest moments since we crawled out of the sea and found a way to stand upright.
"Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight."
— Thomas Jefferson
We return to the Jefferson 101 biographical series and explore Jefferson’s second term as President. We discuss the many difficulties he had, including the Burr conspiracy and the Embargo Act of 1807 to 1809.
"I think that's what Jefferson's attitude was: 'I'd rather not, but I'm probably the best person to do it.'"
We return to our Jefferson 101 series this week with an episode about Jefferson’s road to the White House. Over the past few months, we've carried Jefferson from his birth in Virginia in 1743 right up to the brink of the time when he became the third president of the United States. We take for granted how our elections work. Back then, they didn't really have a blueprint: no conventions, no caucuses, no primaries, no debates. It was an informal system and we try to sort out how a reluctant person like Jefferson winds up being the president.