Benjamin Franklin

#1337 The Vaunted Scene

#1337 The Vaunted Scene

“Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! […] I find the general fate of humanity here, most deplorable. The truth of Voltaire's observation, offers itself perpetually, that every man here must be either the hammer or the anvil.”

— Thomas Jefferson, 1785

We speak with President Jefferson about his time spent in France.

#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.

#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.

Liberal Education

Liberal Education

"You can have all the information in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you have a mental matrix with which to absorb it, evaluate it, analyze it, begin to synthesize it. That's why we go to college." 

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

#1293 4th of July

#1293 4th of July

"Mythology begins to creep in, and as historians we like to question some of that."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week on our annual 4th of July show, Thomas Jefferson reads the Declaration of Independence in it’s entirety and speaks about one of his favorite holidays.

#1291 Circumstances

#1291 Circumstances

"The debate in American history is not between Hamilton and Jefferson, the debate is between Adams and Jefferson."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we answer listener questions on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, including a letter from a writer who wonders whether the Founding Fathers were geniuses who seized the moment, or simply average people living in extraordinary times. We also speak with our good friend Beau Wright.

#1286 First Family (Part Two)

#1286 First Family (Part Two)

“I’m just thinking of your career, here.”

— Joseph Ellis

We continue our conversation this week with the award-winning author Joseph Ellis, and we conclude our discussion about his book First Family: Abigail and John Adams as part of our first entry of the Thomas Jefferson Hour Book Club series.

#1236 Listener Letters

#1236 Listener Letters

"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth."

— Thomas Jefferson

This week, the entire episode — well, almost the entire episode — is devoted to answering letters from listeners. Questions received include the story of Jefferson's many talents, whether or not Jefferson had a bust of Alexander Hamilton at Monticello, and how to re-create experiments from Jefferson's age.

#1232 Listener Questions

#1232 Listener Questions

This week, we discuss listener questions about architecture, Sally Hemings, revolutionary war, Jefferson as a scientist, recommended books and how Clay's life has been affected by performing as Thomas Jefferson.

"What I discovered was that Jefferson embodies — in many respects, not in all of them — the world that I want to live in. I want to live in Thomas Jefferson's America." — Clay

#1203 Benjamin Franklin's Visit

#1203 Benjamin Franklin's Visit

President Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by humanities scholar Clay S. Jenkinson, is joined in conversation by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is portrayed by GregRobin Smith, a history scholar, author, actor, and educator. Smith was invited to Bismarck by the North Dakota Humanities Council to speak, as Franklin, at the GameChanger Ideas Festival.

#928 Jefferson's Advice

#928 Jefferson's Advice

President Thomas Jefferson answers listener questions including, "How can I lead a more enlightened life?" Gardening, reading, participation in public life, more conversation? Also, a question about Jefferson playing chess (he was proud to say he once beat Benjamin Franklin), Jefferson's thoughts on art, his thoughts on celebrity, and how he dealt with conflict and always tried to maintain civil discourse.

#903 Great Eight

#903 Great Eight

Prompted by a question from listener Jeff Alexander, President Jefferson talks about who he felt were the 8 most influential individuals during his time: George Washington, James Madison, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamlilton and Lafayette.