"A statesman is one who always asks what is best for this country."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
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.
Stay tuned, my friends. If you never hear from me again, it’s because D.B. Cooper and I have disappeared into the vast wilderness of America or joined a peyote cult in New Mexico.
Some of the things Jefferson did were not designed to make a statement about democracy or self-government. In some respects, Jefferson was just weird.
"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.
"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.