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Becoming Jefferson's People

Re-inventing the American Republic for the Twenty-first Century

by Clay S. Jenkinson

Becoming Jefferson's People calls for a renewal of the American character: a re-invention based upon the ideals of our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who embraced and encouraged the best of the American ethos.

The book invites the American people to become Jeffersonians again, to reclaim the founding idealism of the American republic, and to enter a new American Enlightenment in which we are more humane, better educated, and less bullying in the world’s arena.

The book argues that the existing two-party system is really a single party with two nearly identical branches, neither of which represents the Jeffersonian strain in the American character.

Thoughtful, well-meaning and idealistic Americans find themselves unrepresented in the current system. This leads to cynicism, apathy, and despair — the very energies that Jefferson believed were most corrosive in a republic.

Becoming Jefferson’s People is part manifesto, part call for a new political persuasion in the United States, part self-help book, and part critique of the consumerist world empire that the U.S. has become at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The essential points Clay S. Jenkinson makes:

  • We are in danger of ceasing to be a republic.

  • The American two-party system is broken.

  • Jefferson’s ideals represent the best of the American character.

  • When we are Jeffersonian, we are a beacon of hope, dignity, and freedom to the world. When we fail to live according to Jefferson’s ideals, we disappoint the world and betray our best qualities.

  • It is not too late to adopt a significantly more Jeffersonian outlook as a nation.

  • Even if the nation won’t return to its founding ideals, each individual can become Jeffersonian and thereby lead a happier, more virtuous, and more satisfying life.

  • Some of the features of a more Jeffersonian America:

    • A humbler, more thoughtful, less aggressive foreign policy.

    • A much greater national, state, and local commitment to public education.

    • More self-reliance.

    • A return to civility and good manners.

    • Energy independence.

    • A more engaged citizenry

    • Less government.

    • Less taxation.

    • A more mature, thoughtful and dignified popular culture.

Clay S. Jenkinson invites the American people to engage in a national conversation about our identity, our values and our place in the world. What kind of nation do we wish to be as we move into the twenty-first century?

What this book is not:

It is not a study of Thomas Jefferson. Clay S. Jenkinson acknowledges that Jefferson is increasingly seen as a problematic figure and Jefferson’s negatives are now at center stage in the national consciousness. But despite all of this, we can still benefit from the Enlightenment ideals that Jefferson espoused.

Becoming Jefferson's People does not argue that we can only be redeemed by the rise of a new party, though Mr. Jenkinson and millions of others would welcome a new Jeffersonian party. Mr. Jenkinson is aware that third parties have not been very successful in American history. The book calls not for the formation of a party, but what one historian called the “Jeffersonian persuasion”: an infusion of Jeffersonian idealism into our individual lives and the life of the nation.

About the Thomas Jefferson Hour

The Thomas Jefferson Hour is a weekly radio program dedicated to the search for truth in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson.

Our third president was a man of the Enlightenment — a student of human nature and gentlemanly behavior — and he applied this to his personal life as well as to both the national and world wide challenges he faced during the forming of our nation. As a nationally-acclaimed humanities scholar and award-winning first-person interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, Clay S. Jenkinson portrays Jefferson on the program. He answers listener questions while in the persona of Jefferson; his answers are grounded in the writings and actions of the great man.

Our mission is to generate one-on-one discourse between friends and family members, then to help broaden it to national discourse (replace the 30-second two-position-only sound bites) about important, and many times sensitive, topics to our country and to our citizens. We do this in a unique and entertaining way: through the voice of our third president, Thomas Jefferson.

Your support can help keep the Thomas Jefferson Hour on the air and encourage its growth so it can someday be heard in every public radio market in the United States. The program costs money to produce, to distribute, and to market. That’s where you come in. It costs tens of thousands of dollars per year to produce and distribute the program. Your help will allow us to continue the high quality of production and dedicate funds to marketing the program. If you love, like or respect the Thomas Jefferson Hour, and believe that it is an important part of your week, please contribute generously to the program. It will be deeply appreciated.

I’m not going to stop until we have the Jefferson Hour on 300 stations nationwide. I believe so strongly that America needs to return to Jeffersonian principles. With the slenderest budget we have become a staple of American public radio life. If we had money for a marketing campaign, I believe we could really make a run. If you can help, I will be immensely grateful. Thank you.

— Clay S. Jenkinson

The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization under tax ID #46-5726534. All contributions to The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.

Please note that donations to The Thomas Jefferson Hour, Inc. on this website are only tax-deductible if they are made through the PayPal button above. Contributions to the Thomas Jefferson Hour made through direct purchases of podcasts, audiobooks or any other merchandise through the Jefferson Hour Bandcamp page, or through Clay S. Jenkinson's Bandcamp page are not tax-deductible.

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