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released January 3, 2018


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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: #1267 Fiction or Non
"I had a canine appetite for reading."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, President Jefferson shares his views on reading fiction versus non-fiction and recommends works of fiction from his time.
Track Name: #1268 Peaceful Transition
"Most revolutions end with the establishment of a dictatorship."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We speak with President Jefferson this week about America’s tradition of the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
Track Name: #1269 Mrs. Smith
Margaret Bayard Smith was a friend of Thomas Jefferson. Her writings provided the content for the book The First Forty Years of Washington Society which includes first hand accounts of her interactions with Jefferson. This week, we speak with Mister Jefferson about Mrs. Smith. He shares his recollections of their relationship.
Track Name: #1270 Total Extirpation
This week, we answer listener questions about Jefferson’s personality traits, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the State of Jefferson, the Hamilton Soundtrack, fashion during Jefferson’s time, touring Monticello, and Jefferson’s distaste for dogs.
Track Name: #1271 Current Events
We speak with President Jefferson about current events including the government shutdown, philanthropy, and water shortages in Cape Town.
Track Name: #1272 Raleigh
Catherine Jenkinson returns as host this week for an extended conversation with President Jefferson about Sir Walter Raleigh.
Track Name: #1273 Three Friends
"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.
Track Name: #1274 The Classics
"You cannot understand the founding of this country without understanding the Founding Fathers’ obsession with classical languages and literature."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Guest host Catherine Jenkinson has an extended conversation with President Jefferson about the classics, and Jefferson’s understanding and support of the classics.
Track Name: #1275 Joseph Ellis
"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.
Track Name: #1276 Revolutionary Summer
"I feel an Awe upon my Mind, which is not easily described."

— John Adams

Clay and David discuss the book Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, referred to as "a distinctive portrait of the crescendo moment in American history from the Pulitzer-winning American historian, Joseph Ellis." The book chronicles the events of the summer of 1776 as America’s war for independence began, and how America was nearly defeated by the British.
Track Name: #1277 Gerrymandering
"You could redistrict so that you could maximize competitiveness. That would be my suggestion: maximize competitiveness."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

On this week’s Thomas Jefferson Hour, we discuss gerrymandering, its origin, how it works in American politics today, and the potential effects it has on our democracy.
Track Name: #1280 Tomatoes
"That is one of the most fun things that I try to do, reacquaint people with the joyous flavor of the tomato that they crave."

— Craig LeHoullier

Inspired by a letter from Alison Hagan, we talk with three tomato experts: Craig LeHoullier, author of Epic Tomatoes; Harry J. Klee, Ph.D. from the University of Florida; and Pat Brodowski, Head Gardener at Monticello. They speak about the best-tasting tomatoes, how to grow them, where to get seeds, why commercial varieties have lost their flavor, and how Jefferson is connected to all this.
Track Name: #1281 Unanswered Questions
"History is like a picture puzzle and half of the pieces or more are missing. There is something about Jefferson that makes us want to expose contradiction."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Our show this week revolves around a question from listener Gino Cukale about the purported relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. We discuss the historical record and look to first-hand accounts in an attempt to answer this question.
Track Name: #1282 The Map
We answer listener questions in response to episode #1277 Gerrymandering, and then turn to a discussion about an important discovery of an 1805 Lewis & Clark related map. It was found after being stored for 200 years in a French archive. The map and its background story appear in this month’s issue of We Proceeded On, published by the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.

The letters discussed are from Stephen Mishkin, Joe Lovell, Kellen DeAlba, James Kenyon, and Sidney Sjoquist.
Track Name: #1283 The General Welfare
"I would never consider [the Constitution] to be a sacred text."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We present President Thomas Jefferson with a listener question about what the phrase "promote the general welfare," found in the Constitution, actually means.
Track Name: #1284 Foreign Policy
"peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none"

— Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1801)

This week on the Jefferson Hour, we talk with President Jefferson about his struggles with foreign entanglements, and his disappointment with the American people's reactions to his decisions.
Track Name: #1285 First Family (Part One)
Joining our conversation this week is the award-winning author Joseph Ellis. We discuss his book First Family: Abigail and John Adams in part one of two shows as our first entry for the Thomas Jefferson Hour Book Club series.
Track Name: #1286 First Family (Part Two)
“I’m just thinking of your career, here.”

— Joseph Ellis

We continue our conversation this week with the award-winning author Joseph Ellis, and we conclude our discussion about his book First Family: Abigail and John Adams as part of our first entry of the Thomas Jefferson Hour Book Club series.
Track Name: #1287 The Hardest Job
"I don't think that it's very useful to compare the burden of the presidency of 1803 … with the burden of the presidency in your time."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

We talk with President Jefferson about an article written by John Dickerson of CBS regarding how difficult the office of the president has become. The article is titled "The Hardest Job in the World" and was published in this month's Atlantic magazine.
Track Name: #1288 Truth Matters
"I think that an ideal citizen is a bit grumpy, is always concerned that government is up to no good."

— Thomas Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address

We begin our conversation with President Thomas Jefferson asking about the actual location of his tombstone. We also discuss truthfulness, free speech, personal freedoms, upholding international agreements, and what Thomas Jefferson thinks about executive privilege and our current government.
Track Name: #1289 Jefferson's Vision
"Lightly governed, lightly taxed, highly educated, isolationist, farmer's paradise."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, President Thomas Jefferson explains his own vision for America.
Track Name: #1290 Adjustments
"He's a bit of a Tea Party guy, he's a bit of a libertarian, he's certainly for small government."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week's episode is devoted to answering listener questions, and many of the questions are about the current administration. We anticipate and appreciate comments on the issues discussed during this episode. Thanks for listening.
Track Name: #1291 Circumstances
"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.
Track Name: #1292 Common Sense
"Paine refused to take proceeds from this book."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we present another of our Jefferson Hour Book Club episodes and discuss Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Track Name: #1293 4th of July
"Mythology begins to creep in, and as historians we like to question some of that."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week on our annual 4th of July show, Thomas Jefferson reads the Declaration of Independence in it’s entirety and speaks about one of his favorite holidays.
Track Name: #1294 Judicial Responsibility
"You want people who are moderates, who are not passionate zealots in any particular direction."

— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson

Thomas Jefferson shares his thoughts about the workings of the Supreme Court, allows his personal irritations with the court to show, and explains how he feels the court has drifted from its rightful place in America today.
Track Name: #1295 Too Né
"Too Né's data wound up in the journals and all of it is on the map, and the map deepens the journals, and the journals deepen the map."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, we feature an extended conversation about the recently discovered map from the Lewis and Clark Expedition drawn by an Indigenous guide named Too Né. The map was found in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and it's the subject of an entire issue of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s journal, We Proceeded On.
Track Name: #1296 Mil
"When you die, your legacy is the effect you've had on people, and boy did my mother have an effect on people."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson speaks this week about the death of his mother, Mil, and discusses Jefferson’s thoughts and correspondence about death.
Track Name: #1297 While You Were Away
"Voltaire at the end of Candide says, just go home and cultivate your garden."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, we catch up on our mail bag and also speak with a couple of Thomas Jefferson Hour listeners.
Track Name: #1298 As Requested
"You have to wait 14 years under the naturalization law before you can become a full citizen of the United States. These were palpable violations of the Bill of Rights."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

We spend this week, as requested, responding to submitted questions and correcting some factual errors pointed out by our listeners.
Track Name: #1299 Jefferson's Mistakes
"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.
Track Name: #1300 Better Arguments
"Can we talk? Can we try to argue about where we are and where we're going and use the founders as a source of wisdom that might allow us to have a safe place to meet and to talk about this with civility, but with fervor?"

— Joseph J. Ellis

Clay and David discuss how to conduct better arguments, and also speak with author Joseph Ellis to talk about his new book American Dialogue, which will be released this fall.
Track Name: #1301 Farewell Address
"George Washington ... was as close to a perfect human being as we believed existed on Earth."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

This week, we speak with President Jefferson about George Washington's farewell address which was first published in Philadelphia's American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, 222 years ago.
Track Name: #1302 Alarm Poll
"I'm like everyone else, I'm in the middle. I see some benefits on both edges of the spectrum, but I don't want either of them to prevail."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay S. Jenkinson asked listeners to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how alarmed they are about the current state of political affairs in the United States. Rather than just giving a number, many listeners responded with many thoughtful letters. This week we share and read portions from 17 of those letters.
Track Name: #1303 Can We Talk?
"He saw a nation that collapsed right in front of him and he thought, 'well, I wonder why nations collapse,' and I think that really led to some great thinking."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We respond to listener mail this week, including questions related to the principle of one-person one-vote, and we discuss replies to Clay’s request for some thoughtful conservative perspectives from listeners who support the Trump administration.
Track Name: #1304 To France
"This period was, in some ways, the most satisfying period of Jefferson's life, and in some ways it was the most radical."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

This week, as promised, and in anticipation of Clay’s upcoming cultural tour of Jefferson’s France in October 2019, we devote an entire show to discussion of Jefferson’s time as Minister to France from 1784 to 1789.
Track Name: #1305 Wine and Welshmen
"We should always listen to science. Science is not political. Science is rational."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson answers listener questions this week, including inquiries about Jefferson and wine, Welsh “Indians” in the Dakotas, repairing friendships, and the idea that “the rain followed the plow” during Jefferson’s time.
Track Name: #1306 Ossian
We speak with President Jefferson about reading — one of his favorite pastimes. We also talk about the teachers who inspired his lifelong habit of reading, and Jefferson’s fascination with the Ossian, which was first published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson in 1760.
Track Name: #1307 Live in Pittsburg, KS
"You think I'm joking, but I wanted a square America."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson goes on the road this week to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. The performance was taped live at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on September 15, 2018 in front of an audience of over 500 people. The event was hosted by Dustin Treiber, the program director of Four States Public Radio station KRPS.

The subject of this episode was the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson, to begin the conversation, pointed out to the citizens of Kansas that he bought the state for three cents per acre from Napoleon Bonaparte.
Track Name: #1308 American Dialogue with Joseph Ellis
"Indeed, if I read the founders right, their greatest legacy is the recognition that argument itself is the answer."

— Joseph J. Ellis

We welcome back Professor Joseph Ellis — the eminent historian, author and friend of the Jefferson Hour — to speak about his new book, American Dialogue: The Founders and Us, which is out now.

No historian of the early national period of American life has done more than Joseph Ellis to give us a sense of what it was like then: what were the challenges, what were the opportunities, the different types of personalities that went into the mix. It was not a monolith. Ellis is maybe the most spirited prose stylist of all of the historians of that period, and he's interested in four of our national figures from that era, particularly Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and the first president of the United States, George Washington. Ellis uses the founders as a springboard to wrestle with eternal problems of American life.
Track Name: #1309 Water for a Dry Land with Char Miller
"Our technology that has unleashed such creativity has also unleashed the capacity for us to destroy the very things that we were creating."

— Char Miller

Clay and David speak with Char Miller, one of the three authors of the 3rd edition of Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land. Char Miller is Director of Environmental Analysis, and W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History at Pomona College.

Drop Jefferson into Western Kansas or Oklahoma. What does he say about the Ogallala miracle? The Ogallala aquifer is a huge underground water resource which stretches from South Dakota all the way to Texas — an underground lake the size of Lake Huron that most people have never heard of. The aquifer is used to create one of the best agricultural productivity zones on Earth. It supplies water to people, industry and agriculture, and it's expected to run dry by the end of the century. The aquifer is now living on borrowed time because of its decline as a fossil resource. How would Jefferson have reacted to all of this?

Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land is coauthored by John Opie, Kenna Lang Archer, and Char Miller.
Track Name: #1310 Valley Forge with Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
"It's a very patriotic story in the best sense of the word … these were people who were fighting for a cause."

— Tom Clavin

Clay and David are joined by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, the #1 New York Times bestselling authors, to discuss their newest book, Valley Forge.

In December of 1777, the American Continental Army struggled to survive the coming winter. Valley Forge tells the story of how this army, after a string of demoralizing defeats, not only survived, but regrouped to take advantage of their last chance at redemption in a stunning victory at the Battle of Monmouth Court House.

Valley Forge was the darkest moment of the revolutionary war. Twelve thousand American troops were stationed at a place 23 miles northwest of Philadelphia. If there could be suffering, they felt it at Valley Forge — nearly starving, mutiny, disease, internecine struggles, you name it. Drury and Clavin also give us insights about Alexander Hamilton, and perhaps why George Washington listened to him so carefully. Of all of the people who have a role in this great story, Thomas Jefferson is not one of them, and for that reason, all of those present never quite felt that Jefferson was fully one of the band of brothers.
Track Name: #1311 Jefferson's Views
"This is a French school of economics and social thinking that I subscribed to, at least in part, that says that wealth comes from the soil"

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

President Jefferson answers listener questions about Jefferson as a guide for our troubled times, Jefferson’s views on slavery, and his thoughts on J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur's Letters from an American Farmer, published in 1782.

Crèvecœur, the French physiocrat, wrote a beautiful book about agrarianism that Jefferson found fascinating. We also answered a question from a teacher at David Crockett Middle School in Amarillo, Texas, and Mr Jefferson had a bit of criticism for the state of Texas. Texas did not follow the Jeffersonian paradigm of development, and Jefferson found that a little hard to take. We've got a great letter from Mr. Jeff Woods, who sort of reinforced the idea that Jeffersonianism can still work, that those checks and balances and Jeffersonian harmony are still possible, even in the crazy world that we live in today.

In this week's Jefferson watch, a journey to Yellowstone National Park.
Track Name: #1312 Elections Matter
"You have a population of 330 million. This is a way that the whole system is designed to distill their will."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

The results of the 2018 midterm elections are what we try to sort out this week: what it means, what it implies, and how it fits into Jefferson's view of the United States. Jefferson said it is necessary to give, as well as take, in a government like ours, and we wonder if if we do a good enough job at that. Both parties claimed victory after the November 6th election, and maybe that's true, maybe that isn't, but Jefferson's view is that it was kind of what you would expect for a midterm election, no matter who was president. Jefferson also said that conscience is the only clue which will eternally guide us. He loved the idea that people would participate in self-government. The number of people who voted in the 2018 election was through the roof. Unprecedented. Record setting. Jefferson would be so pleased.

In 1824, Jefferson wrote to Edward Livingston: "A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise of opinion; that things even salutary should not be crammed down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed, and that a great deal of indulgence is necessary to strengthen habits of harmony and fraternity."
Track Name: #1313 Gratitude and Thanks
We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving from the Thomas Jefferson Hour. This week, we speak to four friends including Lisa Suhay, who tells us about her new book America the Grateful; Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello; luthier Kevin Muiderman, who gives us an update on the ukulele he is building for Clay; and Nashville-based songwriter Brad Crisler, who tells us about his plans for Thanksgiving in Alabama.
Track Name: #1314 Our Friend Beau
"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
Track Name: #1315 James Madison (Part One)
"Mr. Madison made me look like a slacker."

— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson speaks about his good friend and adviser James Madison.

Together, Jefferson and Madison made it possible for the Virginians to rule this country for 24 years at the beginning of the 19th century. It's a great example of two very different men combining their talents to make a stronger yin and yang, or put another way, Mutt and Jeff: a tall, elegant Virginian and a much more contained, little, balding fellow who was a brilliant political strategist. James Madison is arguably the most underrated of the Founding Fathers, and is often accurately referred to as the father of the Constitution. His wife, the famous Dolly Madison called him the Great Little Madison.
Track Name: #1316 James Madison (Part Two)
"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. Madison was the de facto father of the American Constitution. We look at his preparation, his advocacy of the Virginia Plan, and his work to try to ratify this somewhat imperfect instrument. We talked a great deal with President Jefferson about the Constitutional Convention. Jefferson wasn't there, but Madison kept him apprised of progress. Madison wanted a more centralized national government than Jefferson was comfortable with. Jefferson believed in the 10th amendment: that powers not delegated to the national government belong to the states, which is something that haunts us to this day because of its vagueness. 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"?
Track Name: #1317 Madison's Letters
"Jefferson yielded to Madison's stronger concern. He needed him and he trusted him."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Clay and David discuss a number of letters between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison that reveal their working relationship, their friendship, and how Madison protected Jefferson politically.
Track Name: #1318 Was Thomas Jefferson a Christian?
"I believe so strongly that Jefferson was right about separation of church and state."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

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.

This episode features questions from Billie Rose Paxton Einselen, Paul South, Jacob Clark, Jeff Chun, Joe Gotchy, Ian Adams, Cheryl Masters, Jason Eisenhut, and Zena Thorpe.