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.
"Those forty books made a difference in his life, because he grew up in a house where there were books and book culture."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
This week on The Thomas Jefferson Hour, we answer listener questions including a query from a listener in Ireland asking about Jefferson’s thoughts on the Irish rebellion and constitution, Jefferson’s involvement in providing alcohol to troops, suggestions for a Jefferson library for children, and Jefferson’s advice for Americans traveling in Europe.
"But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
We discuss Jefferson’s only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson completed his first draft of the book in 1781 and first published it anonymously in Paris in 1785. It is widely considered the most important American book published before 1800.
"The French ... thought it was an assassination, a war crime, that Washington was a murderer."
— Peter Stark
We speak with Peter Stark, author of Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father.
We discuss George Washington’s formative years and character traits, his travels into the Ohio country, and his relationship with lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie. We talk about how Washington’s involvement in the Battle of Jumonville Glen touched off the French and Indian War.
"This book reveals [Washington] as a man of emotion, raw emotion."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
In anticipation of our conversation next week with Peter Stark, the author of Young Washington, we speak with Jefferson about our first president. Jefferson also comments on the time change, and the importance of using available daylight.
"I believe so strongly that Jefferson was right about separation of church and state."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
We wish all a Merry Christmas from The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which, as it turns out, is perhaps more than Thomas Jefferson would have done. Jefferson was not a believer in celebrating Christmas in a traditional fashion and felt it should not be a national holiday.
"to the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression."
— James Madison
We discuss James Madison again this week, President Jefferson's good friend and ally. The question is, what is America? Is it a compact of sovereign states? Or is it as a nation state whose constitution begins with the words, "We the People"?
"Whatever your politics are, to think that the country is being taken seriously by young men and women who want us to be a Jeffersonian republic is just such a gratifying thing to me."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
We greet a special visitor, our friend Beau Wright. Beau traveled from Lynchburg, Virginia to join us at the studio for a fruitful and interesting conversation about American ideals.
"The debate in American history is not between Hamilton and Jefferson, the debate is between Adams and Jefferson."
— Clay S. Jenkinson
This week, we answer listener questions on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, including a letter from a writer who wonders whether the Founding Fathers were geniuses who seized the moment, or simply average people living in extraordinary times. We also speak with our good friend Beau Wright.
"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.
"Nobody ever used the English language to greater effect than William Shakespeare."
Clay discusses his new show, "Clay Jenkinson's Shakespeare the Magic of the Word" — which held its world premiere in Norfolk, VA in September — and shares Jefferson's thoughts and regard for the work of William Shakespeare.
Jefferson wrote, "I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves, by the generation of 1776, to acquire self government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
"The bureaucracy can actually serve a really valuable purpose."
— Beau Wright, Director of Operations at United to Protect Democracy
In an out-of-character program, Clay reports on this year's Lewis & Clark cultural tour. Later, we're joined by Beau Wright who reports on his recent visits to Jefferson’s Poplar Forest home and the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County, Virginia.
This week, in the continuing series of Jefferson biographical shows about President Thomas Jefferson, Clay and David present part two of a discussion about Jefferson’s book, Notes on the State of Virginia, and how some of the things he wrote came back to haunt him politically.
More from the Thomas Jefferson Hour
In the continuing series of Jefferson biographical shows about President Thomas Jefferson, Clay S. Jenkinson and David Swenson present part one of a discussion about Jefferson’s published work, “Notes on the State of Virginia”, often called the greatest book written in America before 1800. In this episode, Jefferson’s positions on race are discussed at length.