"We need eternal vigilance."
— 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.
"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.
"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.
"Jefferson regarded the national debt as a national disgrace." Clay
This week, President Jefferson (as portrayed by humanities scholar Clay S. Jenkinson) explains his reasoning behind his federal budget and why he felt it was essential to pay down the national debt that he inherited. We also learn about some of the people who helped Jefferson develop the budget, including Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin.
Jefferson dedicated his administration to reducing the national debt as severely as possible. As always, there are parallels between Jefferson's time and ours. He wanted to cut taxes and the size of the federal government, but he also wanted to cut the size of the Army and Navy; you don't hear that kind of talk much in our time. In this case, Jefferson was an idealogue about fiscal responsibility.