Monticello

#1342 Dressing Down

#1342 Dressing Down

"He was drest, or rather undrest, with an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy small clothes, much soiled-woolen hose-and slippers without heels."

— William Plumer, 1802

This week we talk about Thomas Jefferson’s talent for political theater, and the ways he used this talent to reinforce the public perception of his firm beliefs in republicanism and guard against what he saw as a threat of monarchy in the young nation.

What If Jefferson Had Not Gone to France?

What If Jefferson Had Not Gone to France?

What if he had never left the United States? How would things have been different? Jefferson had turned down two previous high-level government invitations to take up a diplomatic post in Paris. He finally made the journey in July 1784 because his wife Martha was dead, because he was still reeling from his frustrating and unsuccessful tenure as the wartime Governor of Virginia, and of course he wanted to see the Old World, especially France.

#1336 Brodowski and Wright

#1336 Brodowski and Wright

"It's such a gift. Every day."

— Pat Brodowski

We speak with two of our favorite Jefferson Hour correspondents: Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Monticello, and Beau Wright, a frequent contributor to the show and a city council member of Lynchburg, VA.

#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.

#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.

#1321 January First

#1321 January First

January 1st was an important day to Thomas Jefferson for many reasons. This week, we speak with President Jefferson about notable New Year's Day occurrences during his life.

#1289 Jefferson's Vision

#1289 Jefferson's Vision

"Lightly governed, lightly taxed, highly educated, isolationist, farmer's paradise."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, President Thomas Jefferson explains his own vision for America.

#1288 Truth Matters

#1288 Truth Matters

"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.

#1284 Foreign Policy

#1284 Foreign Policy

"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.

#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.

#1280 Tomatoes

#1280 Tomatoes

"That is one of the most fun things that I try to do, reacquaint people with the joyous flavor of the tomato that they crave."

— Craig LeHoullier

Inspired by a letter from Alison Hagan, we talk with three tomato experts: Craig LeHoullier, author of Epic Tomatoes; Harry J. Klee, Ph.D. from the University of Florida; and Pat Brodowski, Head Gardener at Monticello. They speak about the best-tasting tomatoes, how to grow them, where to get seeds, why commercial varieties have lost their flavor, and how Jefferson is connected to all this.

#1278 Adams, Bees and Guns

#1278 Adams, Bees and Guns

"I believe that we have the right to revolution."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Jefferson answers listener questions about his relationship with John Adams, replacing the Constitution once every generation, bees at Monticello, and the Second Amendment.

#1275 Joseph Ellis

#1275 Joseph Ellis

"There's a perfect alignment between Jefferson's own contradictions and the rest of American history."

— Joseph J. Ellis

Clay speaks with Dr. Joseph J. Ellis, author of more than ten books, including American Sphinx, Passionate Sage, and Revolutionary Summer. His forthcoming book is American Dialogue: The Founders and Us.

#1273 Three Friends

#1273 Three Friends

"I'm just thrilled to see that people can still have intelligent and thoughtful conversations and walk away still feeling friends."

— Rick Kennerly

We speak with three friends of the Jefferson Hour this week: Rick Kennerly, who talks tomatoes and why they don’t taste as good as they used to, Pat Brodowski, Head Gardener at Monticello who speaks about the gardens and upcoming events at Monticello, and Beau Wright, Director of Operations at Protect Democracy.

#1270 Total Extirpation

#1270 Total Extirpation

"It really upsets me that Jefferson should be anti-canine, but there you are."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we answer listener questions about Jefferson’s personality traits, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the State of Jefferson, the Hamilton Soundtrack, fashion during Jefferson’s time, touring Monticello, and Jefferson’s distaste for dogs.

#1266 Looking Back at 2017

#1266 Looking Back at 2017

This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, we look back at the conversations we had with President Jefferson and the many subjects we discussed during 2017.

#1262 The Final Years (Part Three)

#1262 The Final Years (Part Three)

"Two seraphs await me long shrouded in death; I will bear them your love on my last parting breath."

— Thomas Jefferson, July 1826

We conclude our Jefferson 101 biographical series by discussing his final days at Monticello, his legacy, and the deaths of both Jefferson and John Adams on July 4th, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

#1260 The Final Years (Part Two)

#1260 The Final Years (Part Two)

"at best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but in death. to such a life that of a cabbage is paradise."

— Thomas Jefferson, 27 June 1822

This week, we return with part two of the last three shows of the Jefferson 101 biography series, and continue our discussion of Jefferson’s final years in retirement at Monticello.

#1259 The Final Years (Part One)

#1259 The Final Years (Part One)

"The last years of his life were increasingly characterized by debt and disillusionment."

— Clay

We return to Jefferson 101 with part one of the final three shows of the Jefferson biography series to discuss Jefferson’s years in retirement at Monticello.

#1255 Show Mister Jefferson

#1255 Show Mister Jefferson

Prompted by a listener letter, Clay answers the question, “If Thomas Jefferson appeared before you today, what would you want to show him from our time?”