Constitution

#1333 The Constitution Today

#1333 The Constitution Today

"I don't think, from my point of view, you can think that the Constitution is sacred."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss Akhil Reed Amar's The Constitution Today, a selection for the Book Club, which contains essays written by Amar over the past two decades. Amar gives us a road map for thinking constitutionally about today’s America.

#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.

#1329 Laboratories of Democracy

#1329 Laboratories of Democracy

"I am a loyal, proud, cheerleading sort of North Dakotan."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

A listener in Texas admonishes Clay for offering to give up a North Dakota senate seat, and we take questions about the Fourteenth Amendment. Our constitutional discussions continue by reading additional correspondence from listeners.

#1328 Constitutional Correspondence

#1328 Constitutional Correspondence

"What would fix this country? Almost the number one thing would be: take money out of politics."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We continue our current theme of constitutional discussions by reading and considering listener mail, including a number of specific suggestions for constitutional amendments.

#1327 Complex Compromises

#1327 Complex Compromises

Jefferson answers questions about the Constitution, including topics like presidential pardon power, natural-born citizen requirements, and the constitutionality of signing statements.

We Can Fix This Broken System

We Can Fix This Broken System

The American people regard the US Constitution as a sacred document—even though Jefferson specifically asked us not to—and historically we have been very reluctant to tamper with it. Too bad, because it is badly in need of fundamental revision. Our Constitutional order has broken down. After years of thinking about this, I offer the following amendments.

#1326 No Just Government Should Refuse

#1326 No Just Government Should Refuse

"Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse or rest on inference."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

President Jefferson answers a number of listener questions about the United States Constitution. We discuss the meaning of Article V, how much of the document is open to interpretation, and the idea of amending the Constitution every generation.

#1325 Pax Americana

#1325 Pax Americana

We answer listener questions this week, and the most mail we received was about Robert Kagan's new book, The Jungle Grows Back, which Tom Friedman of The New York Times called "An incisive, elegantly written, new book about America’s unique role in the world."

#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.

#1320 Looking Forward

#1320 Looking Forward

"It's going to be a pivotal year in American history."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look forward to 2019 and discuss some of the episode topics that have been suggested to us by the Fans of the Thomas Jefferson Hour group on Facebook.

#1318 Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian?

#1318 Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian?

"I believe so strongly that Jefferson was right about separation of church and state."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

We wish all a Merry Christmas from The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which, as it turns out, is perhaps more than Thomas Jefferson would have done. Jefferson was not a believer in celebrating Christmas in a traditional fashion and felt it should not be a national holiday.

#1317 Madison's Letters

#1317 Madison's Letters

"Jefferson yielded to Madison's stronger concern. He needed him and he trusted him."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

#1316 James Madison (Part Two)

#1316 James Madison (Part Two)

"to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."

— James Madison

We discuss James Madison again this week, President Jefferson's good friend and ally. The question is, what is America? Is it a compact of sovereign states? Or is it as a nation state whose constitution begins with the words, "We the People"?

#1299 Jefferson's Mistakes

#1299 Jefferson's Mistakes

"He was part of the extension of slavery that made the Civil War inevitable, and that led to almost 800,000 deaths."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week President Thomas Jefferson speaks about the political mistakes he made.

#1283 The General Welfare

#1283 The General Welfare

"I would never consider [the Constitution] to be a sacred text."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We present President Thomas Jefferson with a listener question about what the phrase "promote the general welfare," found in the Constitution, actually means.