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released January 1, 2019


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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: #1319 Looking Back
"I really loved the year 2018, but I'm even more looking forward to the year 2019."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look back at 2018 and wish everyone a happy New Year. This episode is our chance to revisit all of the great conversations we've had about Jefferson in 2018.
Track Name: #1320 Looking Forward
"It's going to be a pivotal year in American history."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We look forward to 2019 and discuss some of the episode topics that have been suggested to us by the Fans of the Thomas Jefferson Hour group on Facebook.
Track Name: #1321 January First
January 1st was an important day to Thomas Jefferson for many reasons. This week, we speak with President Jefferson about notable New Year's Day occurrences during his life, including his wedding, his famous "wall of separation between church and state" letter to the Danbury Baptists, and the beginning of his famous correspondence with John Adams during the last years of their lives. We also tell the story of "the world's largest cheese" that Jefferson received while President.
Track Name: #1322 Roosevelt and Jefferson
"Few people grow in office; few people grow in life. Roosevelt grew in life. He became more interesting, more sensitive, more thoughtful ... [Roosevelt] became more enlightened as time went on."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

Prompted by a listener request, and recognizing the 100th anniversary Theodore Roosevelt’s death, this week Clay Jenkinson discusses the differences, and a few similarities, between Roosevelt and Jefferson.
Track Name: #1323 The Only Security of All Is in a Free Press
"were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

This week we discuss the importance of a free press with President Jefferson.

On November 4, 1823 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Marquis de Lafayette that "the only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure."

In January of 1816 Jefferson wrote to Colonel Charles Yancey, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."
Track Name: #1324 Lochsa
"nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1821

Clay Jenkinson returns from his cultural retreat held at Lochsa Lodge in Idaho last week and reports in on this year's meetings. Also, perhaps prompted by the 50th anniversary of the famous Beatles "rooftop concert," we wander into a short conversation about pop music, and discuss the recent extreme cold weather along with how Jefferson is co-opted by many of us without paying enough attention to the historical record.
Track Name: #1325 Pax Americana
We answer listener questions this week, and we identify a specific melon seed that Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Monticello, mentioned on a past episode. We also discuss Clay’s new ukulele. The most mail we received was about Robert Kagan's new book, The Jungle Grows Back, which Tom Friedman of The New York Times called "An incisive, elegantly written, new book about America’s unique role in the world."
Track Name: #1326 No Just Government Should Refuse
"Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse or rest on inference."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1787

President Jefferson answers a number of listener questions about the United States Constitution. We discuss the meaning of Article V, how much of the document is open to interpretation, and the idea of amending the Constitution every generation.
Track Name: #1327 Complex Compromises
Jefferson answers questions about the Constitution, including topics like presidential pardon power, natural-born citizen requirements, and the constitutionality of signing statements.
Track Name: #1328 Constitutional Correspondence
"What would fix this country? Almost the number one thing would be: take money out of politics."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We continue our current theme of constitutional discussions by reading and considering listener mail, including a number of specific suggestions for constitutional amendments. We also share a report from a listener who visited Monticello when Ivanka and Jared Trump were there.
Track Name: #1329 Laboratories of Democracy
"I am a loyal, proud, cheerleading sort of North Dakotan."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

A listener in Texas admonishes Clay for offering to give up a North Dakota senate seat, and we take questions about the Fourteenth Amendment. Our constitutional discussions continue by reading additional correspondence from listeners.
Track Name: #1330 Wilderness and 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.
Track Name: #1331 Young Washington with Peter Stark
"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.

As a historian, Stark's writing focuses on adventure and exploration. A traveler himself, Stark is a long-time correspondent for Outside magazine. His 2014 book, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire, was a New York Times bestseller.
Track Name: #1332 Smallpox
"Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to [the smallpox vaccine's] efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my countrymen."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1806

Jefferson talks about his own smallpox inoculation, as well as John Adams’ experience. Jefferson admired Dr. Edward Jenner, the physician and scientist who was a pioneer of smallpox vaccination. Smallpox killed millions of people during Jefferson’s time, and continued to do so until the 20th century. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.
Track Name: #1333 The Constitution Today
"I don't think, from my point of view, you can think that the Constitution is sacred."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We discuss Akhil Reed Amar's The Constitution Today, a selection for the Book Club, which contains essays written by Amar over the past two decades. Amar gives us a road map for thinking constitutionally about today’s America.
Track Name: #1334 Benjamin Rush with Stephen Fried
"He and Jefferson talked about everything."

— Stephen Fried

Benjamin Rush was a physician, politician, social reformer, humanitarian, educator, and a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Rush was a leader of the American Enlightenment and an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution. Born the son of a Philadelphia blacksmith, Rush touched virtually every page in the story of the nation’s founding. It was Rush who was responsible for the late-in-life reconciliation between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This week we speak with the author Stephen Fried about his new book, Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father.
Track Name: #1335 The Mustard Seed
"You feel the wonderment of nature at its finest … it's a deep, deep, deep cultural memory of the miracle of the seed."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

We answer listener mail about John Wesley Powell, David Thompson, Daniel Flores, Jefferson’s theft of upland rice while he was in Italy, and suggestions for educating young people.
Track Name: #1336 Brodowski and Wright
"It's such a gift. Every day."

— Pat Brodowski

We speak with two of our favorite Jefferson Hour correspondents: Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Monticello, and Beau Wright, a frequent contributor to the show and a city council member of Lynchburg, VA.
Track Name: #1337 The Vaunted Scene
“Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! […] I find the general fate of humanity here, most deplorable. The truth of Voltaire's observation, offers itself perpetually, that every man here must be either the hammer or the anvil.”

— Thomas Jefferson, 1785

We speak with President Jefferson about his time spent in France.
Track Name: #1338 Notes on the State of Virginia
"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.
Track Name: #1339 Questions and Answers
"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.
Track Name: #1340 A Gloom Unbrightened
We speak with President Jefferson this week about death and suicide, specifically about the deaths of Meriwether Lewis, James Hemmings and Alexander Hamilton.

After the death of his wife in 1782, Jefferson wrote, “All my plans of comfort and happiness reversed by a single event and nothing answering in prospect before me but a gloom un-brightened with one cheerful expectation. This miserable kind of existence is really too burdensome to be borne, and were it not for the infidelity of deserting the sacred charge left me, I could not wish its continuance a moment.”

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Track Name: #1341 Dinner with Jefferson
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

— Thomas Jefferson, 1800

This week, we ask President Jefferson about his famous dinner parties and their extensive menus. It was important to Jefferson to not appear too regal, and the dinner parties were kept somewhat casual. In 1802, a Federalist senator from New Hampshire was meeting Jefferson at a dinner when “a tall high boned man” entered the room wearing “an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy small clothes, much soiled—woolen hose—& slippers without heels.” He added, “I thought this man was a servant; but was surprised by the announcement it was the President.”
Track Name: #1342 Dressing Down
"He was drest, or rather undrest, with an old brown coat, red waistcoat, old corduroy small clothes, much soiled-woolen hose-and slippers without heels."

— William Plumer, 1802

This week we talk about Thomas Jefferson’s talent for political theater, and the ways he used this talent to reinforce the public perception of his firm beliefs in republicanism and guard against what he saw as a threat of monarchy in the young nation.
Track Name: #1343 Forty Books
"He's never happier than when he can recommend a course of reading to somebody else."

— Clay S. Jenkinson

President Jefferson tells us what books he might recommend to juvenile readers, and it turns out to be a fairly limited list. He does, however, recommend Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe.
Track Name: #1344 Baked In
We discuss how rigid people’s political thoughts have become during our time, George Will’s observations on citizen’s expectations of government, and what a contemporary Jeffersonian political party might stand for.