16808Nathan Gilmour moderates a conversation with Michial Farmer and David Grubbs on three letter exchanges between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

2 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #156: Adams and Jefferson”
  1. I thought this was the best episode you’ve done in awhile. Very funny!

    Nathan and David should do a Tolkien episode sometime when they have a decimal episode and Michial isn’t there to grumble. 🙂

  2. I also really enjoyed this one!  I recently listened to Meacham’s new biography of Jefferson, and am listening now to one on Napoleon, so here’s a crack at explaining Jefferson’s virulence against Napoleon.

    Jefferson was indeed a Francophile, and was actually in Paris for some of the French revolution.  Heck, if I recall right he actually advised Lafayette in some capacity during the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Men.  The terror diffused some of Jefferson’s initial enthusiasm (I think he may have regretted that remark about periodic revolution being good for a society, and about the well of liberty needing to be cleansed by the blood of patriots…), however, I don’t think he ever rejected it altogether.  Jefferson and his party continued to be pro-French through the early decades of the 19th century, while Adams and the federalists were pro-British.

    Jefferson seemed perpetually afraid of the installation of some sort of monarchy in the US (some of the federalists at least were probably open to something of that sort, even though it seems kind of silly for us to imagine).  He was a convinced Republican in that regard, and that’s where I think his biggest grievances with Napoleon.  For all his sweeping reforms (and his lovely statement, “Je suis la revolution,” that actually contained a great deal of truth), he re-instituted a monarchy by having himself crowned emperor.  I doubt anything could be more anathema to Jefferson than a monarch of any sort (I suspect he hated monarchists more than St. Nick hated Arians!). That explains his virulence;  Adams, by contrast, was far more sanguine about strong centralized authority, so long as it expressed the will of the people.

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