"He was part of the extension of slavery that made the Civil War inevitable, and that led to almost 800,000 deaths."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
This week President Thomas Jefferson speaks about the political mistakes he made.
Over the past few days I have had the wonderful guilty pleasure of sitting down to read Robinson Crusoe cover to cover. I know I should have been doing other things, some of them pressing, but I just sat there and read this famous and fabulous account of a man who is shipwrecked on a small island off of Venezuela and spends 28 years there, 26 alone with a parrot and some semi-domesticated flocks of goats.
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.
"The Vice Presidency turned out to be just what Jefferson had predicted: 'philosophic evenings in winter' and summers at his beloved Monticello." — Clay
This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, we return to "Jefferson 101", our biographical series. Reluctantly, Jefferson came out of retirement to serve as vice president for four years under his old friend John Adams. They were of different political persuasions and they, in a sense, became the heads of different political parties. Adams & Jefferson were friends when Jefferson's vice presidency began but there was a long period afterwards when they couldn't really abide each other; in the end, in 1812, their friendship was restored and it became one of the great reconciliations of American history. During his vice presidency, Jefferson contributed a rule book to the Senate: A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States.
Jefferson meant it: He preferred the happiness of Monticello to the burdens of power — but he loved this country more than he loved his own happiness.