Category Archives: 03 – Thomas Jefferson

3.285 – The Two Marthas



Year(s) Discussed: 1748-1836

Studies of Thomas Jefferson’s life often discuss the impact of the two Marthas – his wife, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, and his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph – on him, but few studies examine matters with the focus on the lives of the two women. While our knowledge of Martha Jefferson is limited, in this episode, we sift through the fragments of what we know about her before shifting to her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. In addition to the narrative, part of the episode features an interview with a special guest, Dr. Cynthia A. Kierner, whose biography of Martha is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person who was educated in Paris and mingled with presidents and political leaders but is far too often relegated to the background of history. Her life has much to tell us about the role of women and families in the early republic as well as in US presidential history. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Martha Jefferson Randolph” by Thomas Sully, courtesy of Wikipedia, and “Silhouette of Martha Jefferson,” courtesy of Wikipedia

Transition Intro and Outro Music: Samples from “Bread,” prod. by LuKremBo


3.28 – The Calming Seas



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1805

With the war with Tripoli continuing to drag on year after year, Jefferson and his administration had to determine whether the best course to bring it to a conclusion lay with opening up a new front by partnering with foreign agents or through engaging in a new round of diplomacy. Meanwhile, a change in the command of the US naval squadron in the Mediterranean took the wind out of the sails of what had been an energetic force. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Attack on Derna” by Charles Waterhouse, courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.27 – Second Term, Same as the Worst



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1805

Jefferson’s second inauguration may have been a non-event, but on numerous fronts, various tensions were building in early 1805 that threatened to make his second term one to remember. Cabinet members plotted to further their own ambitions while Aaron Burr schemed with foreign powers and domestic discontents in order to return to prominence. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the president, one of his appointments would put a double agent in place to potentially break the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase away from the US. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Thomas Jefferson” by Matthew Harris Jouett, courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.235 – A Western Interlude



Year(s) Discussed: 1804-1805

With the Lewis and Clark expedition underway to explore the upper reaches of the Missouri River, President Jefferson at the end of his first term turned his attention to gathering support and talent for expeditions in the southern portions of the Louisiana Purchase. Meanwhile, the Corps of Discovery arranged for Jefferson to get a first-hand account of life west of the Mississippi River. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Carte Du Mexique et des Pays Limitrophes Situes Au Nord et a l’est Dressee d’apres la Grande Carte de la Nouvelle Espagne De Mr. A. De Humboldt” by Alexander von Humboldt [c. 1811], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.26 – Present but Absent: The Hemings Family of Monticello



Year(s) Discussed: 1735-1873

Throughout Jefferson’s life and career, he was surrounded and served by various enslaved individuals of three generations of the same family. In this episode, we examine the lives of the Hemings family as some worked to attain their freedom, other Hemingses disappeared from the historical record without a trace, and one became the most famous enslaved individual in the United States for bearing the third President’s children. Sources used for this episode can be found at https://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “View of the West Front of Monticello and Garden” by Jane Braddock [c. 1825], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.25 – What’s Next



Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1805

As James Monroe set off for his new special mission to Spain, a new congressional session began with Democratic-Republicans aiming to settle a long-standing issue as well as put their mark on the judiciary branch. However, they would find that their plans quickly went awry, and the events of early 1805 would have impacts on Jefferson’s second term and beyond. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “John Randolph” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1804-1805], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.24 – Truth and Consequences



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1805

With a presidential election looming, the Jefferson administration had to consider how to wrap up the first term and transition to the second. For some, that meant moving into new positions. For others, retirement was in their future. As the campaign worked to rally the public, the decisions of 1804 made at home and abroad would have far-reaching consequences. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Images: “Thomas Jefferson” by Rembrandt Peale [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia and “George Clinton” by Ezra Ames [c. 1814], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.23 – One Man Left Standing



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804

While diplomatic disagreements occupied the attention of the Jefferson administration, Vice President Aaron Burr was occupied with a dispute of a more personal matter in the aftermath of his failed gubernatorial bid. Alexander Hamilton’s opposition to his campaign did not go unnoticed, and Burr was determined to have Hamilton answer for his words, one way or another. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.” [c. 1901], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.22 – A Death in the Family



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804

While Vice President Burr worked to secure his political future in his bid for the New York governorship and New England Federalists plotted to separate from the Union, the Jefferson family suffered the untimely loss of one of its members in the early months of 1804. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, both the British and the French governments went through reorganizations that would impact their relations with the United States for years to come. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “US postage stamp commemorating Monticello, Issue of 1956, 20c” by US Post Office [1 Jan 1956], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band


3.21 – A Plotting We Will Go



Year(s) Discussed: 1803-1804

In the wake of multiple political losses in the first few years of the 19th century, as the election of 1804 neared, numerous Federalist leaders from New England began to consider the possibility of whether their prospects and those of their home region would be better served by breaking away from the United States. In the meantime, Commodore Edward Preble arrived in the Mediterranean to prosecute war against Tripoli while back in Albemarle County, the life of one of Jefferson’s family members hung in the balance. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Uriah Tracy” by Ralph Earl [c. 1790], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band