Show 1050 - Founding Fathers

President Jefferson shares his thoughts about 7 founding fathers.

The Thomas Jefferson Hour® is a weekly radio program dedicated to the search for truth in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, 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. Nationally acclaimed humanities scholar and award winning first person interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, Clay Jenkinson, portrays Jefferson on the program, and he answers listener questions while in the persona of Jefferson—his answers are grounded in the writings and actions of the great man. 
"I wish you would seriously undertake the investigation of the great question relative to the Opossum. The proper season is now coming on, and you can so easily procure them in any number you please. If you can obtain satisfactory evidence of the whole process of gestation and parturition it would be an acceptable thing to the philosophical society here to recieve a paper from you on the subject. Mr. Rittenhouse tells me he is satisfied from the information he has received that the flap of the false pouch is done away entirely during the interval between weaning the young, and a new conception, and that then again it is reproduced. I thought it existed at all times. This therefore is a new doubt to be cleared up."

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

Okay, there are a hilarious amount of letters from Jefferson about opossums and their pouches. And now he’s getting poor Madison into it…first weasel penis measuring, now this?

"Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state."

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 28 Oct. 1785

Sometimes, I really like ol’ TJ.

TJ's Tumblr: “I thought it impossible that reasonable men, consulting together coolly, could fail, by some mutual sacrifices of...


6.20.1790: Alexander Hamilton and James Madison dined with me in my home at 57 Maiden Lane, in the United States’ temporary Capital of New York City. We thereupon discussed the perilous situation of our Union caused by the overwhelming debts owed by various states. Sec’y Hamilton pressed for…

Dolley Madison by Gilbert Stuart, 1804
"I inclose you the rough draught of a letter I wrote on a particular subject on which the person to whom it is addressed [Hamilton] desired me to make a statement according to my view of it. He told me his object was perhaps to shew it to some friends whom he wished to satisfy as to the original destination of the 3. mill. of florins, and that he meant to revive this subject. I presume however he will not find my letter to answer his purpose."

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 31, 1793, on Hamilton’s request for a letter from Jefferson refuting charges that he had mismanaged foreign loans after Jefferson had Giles make Hamilton submit information of his handling of finances to the Congress.

Try being more of a bitch, Jefferson.

(via publius-esquire)

Not cool, man.

On Citing the Federalist Papers as a Source of the Founders’ Views on Government

It’s a bad idea.
The Federalist Papers weren’t an instruction manual for the Constitution. They were written with one specific purpose in mind: get the Constitution ratified.

Who needed to be convinced to support the Constitution?

People who wanted states rights, and saw the consolidated federal government created by the constitution as an echo of monarchical tyranny.

What does that mean for Hamilton, Madison, and Jay? Spinning every aspect of the Constitution so that it will be appealing to that mindset, or at least less threatening. Personal beliefs and doubts are squelched in order to convince the skeptical.

And what does that mean for you? Taking what’s written in those papers with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that the Federalist Papers are a packet of pretty lies; I am saying that you have to remember that it was written in order to sell something.

Sometimes, I’ll read someone declaring that Hamilton was a strict constructionist of the constitution, or that he had greater respect for the states than he’s portrayed as having. Whenever I see that, I think, “They’re going to cite the Federalist Papers or a speech Hamilton made when he was trying to get the Constitution ratified.” Almost inevitably, I’m right. And I’m not even someone who’s studied the Federalist Papers in depth! Hell, I actually haven’t them all! But, I do know that it’s no coincidence that Hamilton was at his most republican when he was trying to convince citizens who feared government power to support the Constitution.

Hamilton was even criticized for this: he gushed over the British government at the Constitutional Convention, but talked like a lover of states rights when he was trying to get it ratified. Got into a big fight with the other two New York delegates to the Convention when one implied suggested he was being deceptive.

Go ahead. Read the Federalist Papers. But look at the real-world political decisions that the figures were making; look at what was said in the secrecy of the Constitutional Convention, and in private letters. An advertisement for the Constitution is not where you go for the most genuine thoughts and feelings of the Founding Fathers on government.

"Her ministers have been weak enough to believe from the newspapers that Mr. Madison and myself are personally her enemies. Such an idea is unworthy a man of sense; as we should have been unworthy our trusts could we have felt such a motive of public action. No two men in the United States have more sincerely wished for cordial friendship with her; not as her vassals or dirty partisans, but as members of coequal States, respecting each other, and sensible of the good as well as the harm each is capable of doing the other. On this ground, there was never a moment we did not wish to embrace her. But repelled by their aversions, feeling their hatred at every point of contact, and justly indignant at its supercilious manifestations, that happened which has happened, that will follow which must follow, in progressive ratio, while such dispositions continue to be indulged. I hope they will see this, and do their part towards healing the minds and cooling the temper of both nations"

Thomas Jefferson, 1815

*looks at what she just reblogged*


James Madison’s Montpelier

Hat Problems

Did I ever tell you the story of my lost hat? ‘No.’ Well sir, I was saying at Bishop Madison’s in Williamsburg (he was not yet Bishop, by the way), and my hat was stolen out of a window in which I had laid it. It was about a mile from the house to the palace, and I was kept from going to the latter for two days, by the impossibility of getting a hat of any kind. At last, however, I obtained one from a little Frenchman who sold snuffvery coarsean extremely small crown and broad brim, and it was a subject of great merriment to my friends.

Nicholas P. Trist describes an anecdote told to him by James Madison

Was it really that improper to go out without a hat? Or did Madison have some kind of hat complex?

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