I’m trying to imagine a dinner party hosted by Thomas Jefferson. Perfect food, cooked in the Avant Garde French fashion, and a flight of fine wines. And Jefferson presiding, a man of perfect manners who seems to have no discernible ego.
"I'm like everyone else, I'm in the middle. I see some benefits on both edges of the spectrum, but I don't want either of them to prevail."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
Clay S. Jenkinson asked listeners to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how alarmed they are about the current state of political affairs in the United States. Rather than just giving a number, many listeners responded with many thoughtful letters. This week we share and read portions from 17 of those letters.
"George Washington ... was as close to a perfect human being as we believed existed on Earth."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
This week, we speak with President Jefferson about George Washington's farewell address which was first published in Philadelphia's American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, 222 years ago.
"Can we talk? Can we try to argue about where we are and where we're going and use the founders as a source of wisdom that might allow us to have a safe place to meet and to talk about this with civility, but with fervor?"
— Joseph J. Ellis
Clay and David discuss how to conduct better arguments, and also speak with author Joseph Ellis to talk about his new book American Dialogue, which will be released this fall.
"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.
"I think that an ideal citizen is a bit grumpy, is always concerned that government is up to no good."
— Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address
We begin our conversation with President Thomas Jefferson asking about the actual location of his tombstone. We also discuss truthfulness, free speech, personal freedoms, upholding international agreements, and what Thomas Jefferson thinks about executive privilege and our current government.
"I don't think that it's very useful to compare the burden of the presidency of 1803 … with the burden of the presidency in your time."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
We talk with President Jefferson about an article written by John Dickerson of CBS regarding how difficult the office of the president has become. The article is titled "The Hardest Job in the World" and was published in this month's Atlantic magazine.