The Thomas Jefferson Hour features conversations with Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, as portrayed by the award-winning humanities scholar and author, Clay Jenkinson. The weekly discussion features Mr. Jefferson’s views on events of his time, contemporary issues facing America and answers to questions submitted by his many listeners. To ask President Jefferson a question, visit our website at jeffersonhour.com
A Nation Divided
This week on the Thomas Jefferson Hour, along with some listener questions, we present a discussion with Clay Jenkinson and Joe Ellis about the upcoming presidential election and the strong divisions in our nation between the two major political parties.
Jefferson the Lawyer
Thomas Jefferson practiced law from 1767 until early 1774. Much of his work involved land disputes, however one case in April of 1770 found him acting pro bono defending Samuel Howell, a mixed-race man being held as an indentured servant because his grandmother was white and his grandfather black.
We're joined by author Joseph Ellis to discuss his work chronicling the Founding Fathers. This week, we're focusing on his 2004 biography, His Excellency: George Washington. The historian Gordon Wood reviewed the book writing that “Ellis's portrait of Washington thus humanizes the man without knocking him off the pedestal where his contemporaries placed him. This Washington is all the greater because he is a real human being with both passions and principles.”
Jefferson tells us that Article Three of the Constitution contemplates a court system, but that it is quite vague and general, so the first Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789 which was intended to create the infrastructure of the Judicial system. George Washington then filled every available seat through appointment.
Clay recently joined Monticello Senior Historian Ann Lucas for "Getting Noticed on the Lewis and Clark Trail," a public Zoom conference during which Clay answered questions from attendees. Time did not allow for all the questions to be answered, and this week we remedy that. Additionally, we are joined by Joe Ellis who helps to answer questions.
American Sphinx with Joseph Ellis
Joseph Ellis joins us this week in the first of a series of conversations discussing his work as a historian chronicling the Founding Fathers. We begin by discussing his book, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, published in 1996 and winner of The National Book Award.