Clay Jenkinson has returned from his annual Lewis and Clark trip in Montana and Idaho, and he gives us a report on the 2019 tour. Clay also offers a list of eight items Lewis and Clark would have certainly wished for on their journey, could they have had them.
We discuss the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landing and then are joined by two special guests. Jeff Huss of the Huss & Dalton Guitar Company in Staunton, Virginia talks about a very special project: the Jefferson Edition 00-SP Custom guitar which is crafted in part with wood from Monticello. Later in the program, Monticello’s head gardener Pat Brodowski tells us about the trees the wood came from and why they had to be cut 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 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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.