"I would hope that people would vote for happiness much more frequently than they would vote for profit."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
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.
There is no greater freedom than being somewhere in the American West with nowhere you have to be, ambling in search of the perfect platonic campsite, living on little, and just giving yourself to all that astonishing open public land.
“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.
"This is a French school of economics and social thinking that I subscribed to, at least in part, that says that wealth comes from the soil"
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
President Jefferson answers listener questions about Jefferson as a guide for our troubled times, Jefferson’s views on slavery, and his thoughts on J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur's Letters from an American Farmer, published in 1782.
"peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none"
— Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1801)
This week on the Jefferson Hour, we talk with President Jefferson about his struggles with foreign entanglements, and his disappointment with the American people's reactions to his decisions.
We answer listener questions in response to episode #1277 Gerrymandering, and then turn to a discussion about an important discovery of an 1805 Lewis & Clark related map. It was found after being stored for 200 years in a French archive. The map and its background story appear in this month’s issue of We Proceeded On, published by the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
"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.
"The question then became: Is a national bank constitutional? Did the Founding Fathers contemplate a national bank?"
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
This week, we discuss the argument between Alexander Hamilton and Jefferson over the creation of a national bank of the United States. Hamilton believed a central banking system was essential to America's standing in the world. Jefferson disagreed, arguing that to take a single step beyond the powers of the constitution is to enter a field of boundless abuse. We speak with Jefferson about President Washington's support of Hamilton’s plan, a decision with ramifications that affect Americans to this day.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”
This week we discuss the American character with President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson believed that the American character would be the best in the history of the world: because of our agrarianism, our distance from the havoc of the Old World, our public education, and our resourcefulness that we needed to develop because there were no outside experts. While Adams felt that without a strong American character, "the strongest Cords of our Constitution [would be broken] as a Whale goes through a Net." John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were dear friends; they disagreed about many things. One thing they agreed upon was that this experiment would only work if we had unique character.