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released January 6, 2017


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The Thomas Jefferson Hour Bismarck, North Dakota

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

Nationally acclaimed humanities scholar and award-winning first-person interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, Clay S. Jenkinson, portrays Jefferson on the program, and he answers listener questions while in the persona of our third president.
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Track Name: #1215 When in Rome
In an out-of-character program, Clay discusses his recent trip to Rome and how it’s deepened his understanding of Jefferson.
Track Name: #1216 Secretary of State (Part One)
This week, we return with the 14th installment of the “Jefferson 101” series. The program is the first of two shows discussing Jefferson’s time as the first Secretary of State. It begins with the story of Jefferson’s return from Europe and the effect his time in France had on his own political sentiments.
Track Name: #1217 Secretary of State (Part Two)
This week, we return with the 15th installment of the “Jefferson 101” series. In this second of two shows discussing Jefferson’s time as the first Secretary of State, we learn more about Jefferson’s vision of America and the strong disagreements he had with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
Track Name: #1218 Two Parties
We speak with President Thomas Jefferson this week about the unexpected emergence of the two-party political system during his time.
Track Name: #1219 Inauguration, Then & Now
President Thomas Jefferson is asked to provide context for presidential inaugurations. Clay & David discuss our third president's inaugural address — its content & its tone — while comparing it to the address of our forty-fifth president, Donald Trump.
Track Name: #1220 First Retirement (Part One)
In this 16th installment of the Jefferson 101 Series, we discuss the period from 1794 to 1797 and Jefferson’s return to Monticello after his tenure as Secretary of State.
Track Name: #1221 The First 100 Days
Clay S. Jenkinson discusses Thomas Jefferson’s election as President in 1801, his first 100 days in office, and notes the sometimes-uncanny parallels with our time.


"I think about this all the time: What's the purpose of the Jefferson Hour? Some of it is historical; it's a fascinating era of American history. Jefferson is America's da Vinci so he deserves all the attention that we can give him. But the more important purpose of this program is clarification. I found [that] by reading [about] Jefferson's first hundred days, it really helped me understand what's going on now. It put it into a wonderful, and somewhat comforting, historical perspective. It made me realize that the slightly freaked-out anxiety of the American people is not new; this happens with some frequency when we shift from one party to another, and when the new person is as significant a break from the last one (as Trump is to Obama), it makes everybody nervous — even those who are rooting for that person. That, I think, is the point of the Jefferson Hour: that the more things change the more they stay the same."
Track Name: #1222 First Retirement (Part Two)
We return to our “Jefferson 101” series with a continued discussion about Jefferson’s period of retirement after his term as Secretary of State ended in 1793 and he returned to Monticello. Subjects include Jefferson’s reasons for leaving Washington, the Jay treaty, slavery and a revealing letter Jefferson wrote to his daughter Maria.
Track Name: #1223 The Logan Act
President Thomas Jefferson explains the Logan Act's origin, its possible uses and its connection to Alexander Hamilton.

George Logan was a Quaker, doctor, farmer and state legislator from Pennsylvania who undertook, as a private citizen and at his own expense, a diplomatic mission to France in 1798 — and what was his reward? The Federalists and the Congress of the United States passed the Logan Act, prohibiting that from ever happening again. Despite Logan's good intentions, and his good results, his name is associated with an act that prohibits private citizens from meddling in the foreign policy of the United States.
Track Name: #1224 Friends of the Hour
On this episode, listeners call us and ask questions directly to President Jefferson. The inquiries cover a broad collection of topics: Jefferson's relationship with the press, postage costs during his time, President Andrew Jackson, patents, banking, and a request for advice on getting involved with local government.
Track Name: #1225 Liberty's First Crisis
Our conversation this week is with the scholar, Charles Slack. Slack is the author of Liberty's First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech. His book chronicles the tumultuous early years of the United States when dissent was so feared that those who dared to criticize the government were put in prison or deported through the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Our discussion focuses on three individuals: Matthew Lyon, the congressman from Vermont; Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of the famous Dr. Franklin; and James Thomson Callender, the notorious Scottish journalist who helped break the Sally Hemings story in 1802. Once again, we find out how little some things have changed over the years. Sometimes the less-than-wholly-respectable journalists wind up doing a very important service to democracy.
Track Name: #1226 American Happiness
A variety of subjects are covered on the Thomas Jefferson Hour this week, including a discussion about Benjamin Franklin Bache's newspaper the Philadelphia Aurora, the effect negative press had on politicians during Jefferson’s time and an interview with Niya Bates about restoration work ongoing at Monticello.

"You can't understand Jefferson without understanding slavery; you can't understand the paradox of his life and the words that he wrote in the Declaration of Independence without understanding this historical connection with Sally Hemings and with the enslaved people in general at Monticello."

— Niya Bates, Public Historian of Slavery and African American Life at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Track Name: #1227 The Missing Book
"[Meriwether Lewis] kept promising copy and he never sent a single page. We don't know what, if anything, became of his manuscript. We have nothing. He wouldn't communicate with us."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Jefferson talks about the Lewis & Clark expedition and America's role as an “Empire of liberty". Jefferson, that Type A keeper of records, was disappointed that Meriwether Lewis failed to complete his book about the journey. Lewis was Jefferson's neighbor, his protégé, his private secretary in the White House, and he led the most successful expedition in American history — a voyage Clay & David have spent many years discussing, and one that Clay revisits by foot and by canoe each summer with Odyssey Tours.
Track Name: #1228 Budgets
"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 ideologue about fiscal responsibility.
Track Name: #1229 Vice President
"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.
Track Name: #1230 Judgment
"The constitution ... is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please." — Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819

Thomas Jefferson had a unique and slightly odd view of the proper place of the judicial branch in America. He thought of judicial independence as both a strength and a weakness of our system: you want judges that are independent of popular factionalism but you want them to be accountable to the sovereign, to the American people. Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson, discusses his concept of judicial balance, his lifelong displeasure with the Supreme Court, and some of the changes that he thinks should be made. He said of life-tenured judges, 'Few die and none resign.'
Track Name: #1231 Jefferson's Garden
We speak with Pat Brodowski, head gardener at Jefferson’s Monticello. Pat shares her knowledge about how and why Jefferson grew the plants he did, the experimental nature of the household gardens and what they are doing to maintain the gardens during our time. It’s a fascinating conversation which provides some real insight on Jefferson the gardener.
Track Name: #1232 Listener Questions
This week, we discuss listener questions about architecture, Sally Hemings, revolutionary war, Jefferson as a scientist, recommended books and how Clay's life has been affected by performing as Thomas Jefferson.

Clay, responding to a question from listener Ryan McKenzie:

"What I discovered was that Jefferson embodies — in many respects, not in all of them — the world that I want to live in. I want to live in Thomas Jefferson's America. I want to live in a rational country, a country that prizes books and the liberal arts. I want to live in a country that believes that science is our guide; he called it our oracle. I want to live in a country that attempts at social equality and extending due process and the rights of man to every living human and maybe beyond the limits of humanity. I want to live in a world in which harmony and civility are the principles of our public life, rather than rancor and shaking of fists and mean-spirited talking points and innuendo and character assassination. I love the agrarian — Jefferson's view that a human with his hands in the soil is almost automatically a better human than somebody whose hands are not in the soil. I love the Lewis & Clark expedition. So, in almost every respect, becoming acquainted with Jefferson and eventually, I hope, mastering him, has made my life much, much, much more than it otherwise would have been."
Track Name: #1233 Neither Wolf nor Dog
We welcome two special guests to the Thomas Jefferson Hour this week for an out-of-character discussion about Jefferson’s policies towards Native Americans. Joining us are the independent filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson and author Kent Nerburn. We talk about Simpson's recent film adaptation of Nerburn’s book, Neither Wolf nor Dog, and about Jefferson’s long shadow when it comes to the United States' conduct regarding American Indians.
Track Name: #1234 Jefferson's Talents
"[Thomas Jefferson] could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play a violin." — James Parton, 1874

This week, we ask President Jefferson to confirm or deny these reported talents.
Track Name: #1235 American Character
"We have now a goodly field before us, & I have no wish superior to that of seeing it judiciously cultivated; that every Man, especially those who have labored to prepare it, may reap a fruitful Harvest”

— George Washington, 1784

Nearly 50 years later, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

This week we discuss the American character with President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson believed that the American character would be the best in the history of the world: because of our agrarianism, our distance from the havoc of the Old World, our public education, and our resourcefulness that we needed to develop because there were no outside experts. While Adams felt that without a strong American character, "the strongest Cords of our Constitution [would be broken] as a Whale goes through a Net." John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were dear friends; they disagreed about many things. One thing they agreed upon was that this experiment would only work if we had unique character.
Track Name: #1236 Listener Letters
"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth."

— Thomas Jefferson

This week, the entire episode — well, almost the entire episode — is devoted to answering letters from listeners. Questions received include the story of Jefferson's many talents, whether or not Jefferson had a bust of Alexander Hamilton at Monticello, and how to re-create experiments from Jefferson's age.
Track Name: #1237 More Listener Letters
Here at the Jefferson Hour, we love our listener mail. We try to answer as many letters as possible because they help us to open up new avenues of discourse. This week, we devote another episode to answering listener questions. Subjects covered include civil discourse, the virtues of France, Jefferson’s suggested reading of the classics and John Adam’s midnight appointments.
Track Name: #1238 Presidential Decorum
"I never like to be rude, but sometimes one has to set the precedent for a society that will shock the world."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we discuss diplomacy and presidential decorum. When the British Ambassador Anthony Merry came to the White House, Jefferson went out of his way to be rude: to make it clear that the Revolution was won by us, not them.

In 1792, Jefferson wrote to George Washington: "No government ought to be without censors: and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defence. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth either in religion, law, or politics."
Track Name: #1239 Original Argument
"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.
Track Name: #1240 Becoming President
"I think that's what Jefferson's attitude was: 'I'd rather not, but I'm probably the best person to do it.'"

— Clay

We return to our Jefferson 101 series this week with an episode about Jefferson’s road to the White House. Over the past few months, we've carried Jefferson from his birth in Virginia in 1743 right up to the brink of the time when he became the third president of the United States. We take for granted how our elections work. Back then, they didn't really have a blueprint: no conventions, no caucuses, no primaries, no debates. It was an informal system and we try to sort out how a reluctant person like Jefferson winds up being the president.
Track Name: #1241 4th of July
We speak with President Jefferson this week in our annual 4th of July Show. Jefferson shares his thoughts on why the holiday is so important to Americans and recalls how it was celebrated during his time. We also speak to Gaye Wilson, the Shannon Senior Historian at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and Pat Brodowski, specialty gardener at Monticello who tells us about the celebrations being held at Monticello.
Track Name: #1242 Inside the White House
"You can object to anybody's politics, but I firmly believe that you can't object to President Obama's character."

— Beau Wright

President Thomas Jefferson speaks about the White House — during his time and ours — with this week's special guest, Beau Wright. Wright spent over five years serving in the White House, nearly two years of that time as Senior Deputy Director of White House Operations and Director for Finance.

Beau Wright is currently Director of Operations for United to Protect Democracy.
Track Name: #1243 Mister President
"Really? You don't think Jefferson has a geopolitical plan here?"

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we return to the Jefferson 101 series and discuss Jefferson’s first term as President. In particular, we discuss the Barbary pirates, the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Track Name: #1244 A Free Nation
"The Founding Fathers intended a free nation in which you could choose your religion."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

After a short discussion about weather, President Jefferson addresses a question about his ownership of a copy of the Quran. Jefferson goes on to explain his views on the importance of religious freedom. In the out-of-character portion of the show, Clay and David are joined by Brad Crisler.
Track Name: #1245 This Thing of Darkness
“This thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine.”

— Prospero, The Tempest

This week Clay Jenkinson speaks about Thomas Jefferson and slavery.
Track Name: #1246 Special Places
"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.
Track Name: #1247 On My Doorstep
"Of all of the people of this era, there is one and only one huge paradox, and it's Thomas Jefferson."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay shares his first impressions of John B. Boles' new book, Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty.
Track Name: #1248 Private Thoughts
"I'm trying to explain to you and to your listeners what makes for a happy life."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Thomas Jefferson speaks about Monticello, his private and daily habits, his compulsiveness and how his Virginian hospitality cost him a personal fortune.
Track Name: #1249 Amor Patriae
Responding to a flood of emails from listeners, this week an out-of-character program discussing the recent events at Charlottesville.
Track Name: #1250 Totality
"How can you call yourself a Jeffersonian if you don't go see [the eclipse]?"

— Clay

Clay takes us on a road trip to Wyoming to witness the eclipse. Later in the episode, David Nicandri phones in to report on his experience.
Track Name: #1251 Checks & Balances
"If the three federal branches can't stop themselves from doing appalling things, a fourth entity exists, and that's the states."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, states' rights, and the need for checks and balances within the federal government.
Track Name: #1252 Mildness & Amenity
"I am more candid in your era than I ever would have been in mine."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we speak with President Jefferson about his hospitality and good manners. In her book, The First Forty Years of Washington Society Margaret Bayard Smith quotes federalist Supreme Court Justice William Paterson’s opinion of Thomas Jefferson. Of Jefferson he said,  “No man can be personally acquainted with Mr. Jefferson and remain his personal enemy."
Track Name: #1253 Second Term
"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.
Track Name: #1254 The Magic of the Word
"Nobody ever used the English language to greater effect than William Shakespeare."

— Clay

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.
Track Name: #1255 Show Mister Jefferson
Prompted by a listener letter, Clay answers the question, “If Thomas Jefferson appeared before you today, what would you want to show him from our time?”
Track Name: #1256 Last Refuge
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

— Samuel Johnson

We speak with President Thomas Jefferson about patriotism and Jefferson’s concept of what it is to be truly free.
Track Name: #1257 Down from the Mountain
"Jefferson was a gentleman. Mountains weren't climbed in his time."

— Clay

This week, we speak with Clay about his recent mountain climbing experience and answer listener questions.
Track Name: #1258 Dissent is Essential
"Anything that is non-violent is an acceptable form of protest in a Republic."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Jefferson shares his view on what he calls an essential need for citizens to speak out about issues they disagree with and he explains why dissent is necessary for the health of American democracy.
Track Name: #1259 The Final Years (Part One)
"The last years of his life were increasingly characterized by debt and disillusionment."

— Clay

We return to Jefferson 101 with part one of the final three shows of the Jefferson biography series to discuss Jefferson’s years in retirement at Monticello.
Track Name: #1260 The Final Years (Part Two)
"at best it is but the life of a mill-horse, who sees no end to his circle but in death. to such a life that of a cabbage is paradise."

— Thomas Jefferson, 27 June 1822

This week, we return with part two of the last three shows of the Jefferson 101 biography series, and continue our discussion of Jefferson’s final years in retirement at Monticello.
Track Name: #1261 Jefferson's Table
"Literally everyone in Washington, D.C. wanted invitations to my White House dinners."

Catherine Jenkinson returns as guest host this week to speak with President Jefferson about all things food and to wish all our listeners a happy Thanksgiving.
Track Name: #1262 The Final Years (Part Three)
"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.
Track Name: #1263 Jefferson's Travels
"I saw the future of the American experiment in the West."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

Catherine Jenkinson returns to host a conversation with President Jefferson about his travels in France, Europe and the United States.
Track Name: #1264 Representation
"It's so hard for me to think that one citizen, for whatever reason, would commit such mayhem."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

President Jefferson answers listener questions this week. He is asked about District of Columbia citizens being deprived of the right to vote, the future of the American experiment of self rule, and the Second Amendment.
Track Name: #1265 Christmas 2017
Special guest host Catherine Jenkinson speaks with President Jefferson about Christmas during Jefferson’s time.
Track Name: #1266 Looking Back at 2017
This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, we look back at the conversations we had with President Jefferson and the many subjects we discussed during 2017.