tv Book Discussion on Democracys Muse CSPAN May 10, 2015 3:45pm-4:49pm EDT
thattitudes of young people, which is the rejection of intellectual monopoly on intellectual control. so anyone tries to message against isis, the messaging you're talking about all the time isis is immune to these things. when people talk about moderate discourse, encouragement isis is immune to that by nature. you might prevent people from going isis before that, but always say once someone starts to buy into isis ideology, that's to throw it reverse -- that's too late to reverse it. >> up next on booktv, andrew burstein history professor at louisiana state university, looked a how throughout the course of history the mitt cal left and wright have alluded to thomas jefferson to promote their respective political agendas.
[applause] >> good evening. well as you can guess i'm not an impartial observer when it comes to andrew burstein. we're both early american historians as mentioned we have co-authored "madison and jefferson" published by random house. we also write regular pieces for salon.com, and we are real historians. we are professors at lsu. we have doctorates. we know things. and andy also is on the advisory board of the papers of thomas jefferson in princeton. andy has written numerous books on early american political culture, but his new book is different. this book is about the many ways in our contemporary society although he is going to start
with fdr but it's about the curious, humorous and at types pathetic ways that modern politicians and public figures adopt and manipulate thomas jefferson. and they can claim him as you see, for whatever ideological position they want to embrace. thus we have the subtitle of the book "how thomas jefferson became an fdr liberal reagan republican and a tea party fanatic, all the while being dead." thank you. [applause] >> thank you steve and books and books and thank you to that lovely young lady. so would do we get the language of american democracy? where we consider our nation to be somehow framed on a morally
superior bulwark in pursuit of a just society. we get that from jefferson. where do we get american exceptionalism? which is political dogma it would seem, today. who describes the united states in his first inaugural dress ace the world's best hope? a quote that is often by democrats and republicans alike repeated. who owns thomas jefferson? the left or the right? well i'm not giving anything away by saying that the left doesn't own jefferson and the right doesn't own jefferson. the past owns jefferson. every nation needs an ennobling
national creation story. thomas jefferson is in dispensable to ours. i think it's not a scientific measure of anything but you can learn something by taking note of the cabinet room in the white house where the president meets with his cabinet. i've gone back over the years to look at early photographs and read the stories in "the new york times," every four years when a new president comes into office the cabinet room is redecorated and portraits are hung on the walls. so harry truman placed on the wall of the cabinet room the portrait of thomas jefferson james madison and woodrow
wilson. after his retirement from the presidency in 1953, truman remarked to a reporter, thomas jefferson is my favorite character in history. when eisenhower became president, he put up william howard taft and george washington replacing truman's jefferson and madison. president kennedy succeeded president eisenhower, removing taft and putting thomas jefferson and andrew jackson facing one another. skip ahead a little bit. ronald reagan, about whom you will hear more, put thomas jefferson and calvin coolidge side-by-side. strange bed fellows.
you know you're in miami when you hear oo. george h.w. bush had champ that jefferson, abraham lincoln theodore roosevelt and ike. william jefferson clinton thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln, and george washington. he took down ike. george w. bush returned to ike and may not be the worst thing he did as president about removed abraham lincoln's picture from the wall. our current president, president obama, has put up harry hard harry truman, george washington, thomas jefferson and theodore roosevelt. he has lincoln in another room. in the oval office. so when it came to hanging portraits in the white house cabinet room, presidents number
40 through 44 all had one predecessor in common thomas jefferson. so this book spans about three-quarters of a century but i'm going to start with the year -- the winter of 1924-1925 when a book was published that had a profound impact on the democratic party and specifically on franklin d. roosevelt who at that time was a failed vice presidential nominee, and still eight years from becoming president. he wrote the first and only book review of his life about this book by man from indiana named claude bowers, the book was called "jefferson and hamilton: the struggle for democracy in america." roosevelt wrote in this book
review i have a breathless feeling as i lay down this book. hap ton re have today -- hamilton was always popular when business loomed large and business was bombing -- hamiltons we have today. is it jefferson on the horizon? and so eight years later he became what he considered to be a modern incarnation of the principles of jeffersonian democracy. believing that he was channeling jefferson. in putting together the new deal. in bowers' book, jefferson and hamilton hamilton is contemptuous. he uses that word often. contemptuous of the people at large. condescending. he said it was the money men who made america great made america strong.
so that was hamilton. jefferson was the first in american history to contest artificial privilege to fight the moneyed elite. to disagree with the cozy alliance that hamilton had put in place under the george washington administration that alliance between business and government. so bowers' and roosevelt's -- eversin and hamilton dichotomy was simple. who spoke for the rich, who spoke for ordinary people? why is this book so important? because this would never happen anymore. at the democratic national convention in houston in 1928, the author of "jefferson hamilton" claude bowers gave the keynote address. fdr introduced the candidates al
myth of new york, who went down defeat to herbert hoover, but this keynote address delivered before 10,000 in the houston arena, and millions more by radio, was claude bowers. a national celebrity of famous order whom, roosevelt on becoming president appointed ambassador to spain and later ambassador to chile. so fast forward a bid -- bit to thomas jefferson's 200th 200th birthday in 1943. on that day president roosevelt dedicated the jefferson memorial on the tidal basin in washington, dc. he had been personally instrumental in the dome design, in approving the sayings or quotes from jefferson that
encircled the memorial. he sat down with the architect in the white house. he pushed the jefferson memorial. he wanted to own thomas jefferson for all time. for the democratic party which jefferson founded along with madison. and on that 200th anniversary of jefferson's birth roosevelt read from the words that still send issuele the -- encircle the for of the dome. i have warn on the alter of god eternal hostility toward any form of tyranny over the mind of man. but we understand why jefferson's language is adored two centuries after he wrote it. at the time, 1943, those words were delivered as in your face
to hitler and naziism. it was meant to be a support for america in a time of war. jefferson is a kind of talisman who defines the nation's formative genius in emotional terms. he is the emotional member of the founding generation. william jefferson clinton who literally shares the founder's name owns a rare copy of jefferson's 1787 notes on the state of virginia. the only black that jefferson wrote in his lifetime. clinton began his 1993 inaugural schedule with a private tour of
monticello. astronaut turned senator john glenn of ohio in eulogistic reflection on the life of his dear friend, robert f. kennedy said of bobby kennedy he'd quite often quote tom that jefferson who said if our tellcracy was to work every man must have his voice heard in some council of government. that is what democracy literally means. but have we ever had that in this country? if the greed of a minority drives the economy do we live in a tell real estate -- live in a democracy at all? this is why as a political player the historical jefferson remains a part of our national political conversation today.
can anyone really say what jefferson would do if he were president today? yet his symbolism is such that america gauges its ability to uphold political virtues bit invoking his name. rathers of my previous book have e-mailed me with questions like, where would jefferson stand on gays in the military? ...
>> normally president kennedy delegated to his social secretary or to his wife jackie, responsibility for putting together social event at the white house. but in april of 1962, kennedy took a hands-on approach to this one and he really cared about it. and i saw in washington dc at the national portrait gallery at the time, his handwritten notes on the nose that ted sorensen had given to him and you probably know the quote that he
outlived at that white house banquet. but i think that this is the most extraordinary collection of talent of human knowledge ever gathered at the white house with the possible exception of when thomas jefferson dined alone. there is a 10 page spread in life magazine about the white house dinner and the noble laureates, just as there is a spread in life magazine in mid-april 1943 when at the are dedicated to jefferson memorial. and so jefferson's word expresses the universal desire for individual freedom. and that is why this stays with us. when we say that jeffersonian democracy is like this, we tend
to mean something on the order of human rights. barack obama when he first took office in 2009 how he envisioned the future of iraq. the words out of his mouth were that we do not expect jeffersonian democracy because it is a different culture. but we expect something that we might call jeffersonian in this country and that is why i am trying to investigate in this book. just uttering the word at jefferson, you are giving a synonym for the emotional component of american democracy. and it's not just in america but across the world. in 1993 when he visited monticello mikell gober --
mikell gorbachev told him that he had studied his principles of democracy as a college student many years ago in moscow as a trusted member of the communist party of the soviet union and he had access to that kind of literature. and he said as he was conceiving this in the soviet union a liberalization, he went back to the very text that he read as a college student and that meant a lot to him. ronald reagan kept private notebooks that he referred to when he was looking for sings to you is while he was president. and even before.
and in some of these notes president reagan revealed jefferson his newest by equating him to raising his political ideal of an open society and he was talking about an open society and use this encounter distinction to the soviet model. and so here was reagan attacking the evil empire and gorbachev responded similarly to thomas jefferson. reagan found in jefferson a lover of small government. and reagan frequently quoted
from his first inaugural as did democratic presidents who came before him. because in jefferson's first inaugural are both liberal and small government elements. what reagan writes was the line that said spoke in favor of a wise and frugal government that leads men to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement. so if we translate that into reganomics it does don't tax well. so all americans can pursue happiness equally and it's not governments business to level the playing field. jefferson is the closest to flesh and blood of the founders. more flesh then was turned up in a surprise mining of 1998.
towards washington, that is how we get this and envision him and see him. we see him as a statuesque. washington isn't known for anything he said. james madison is seen in cerebral terms alone, although nancy and and madison and jefferson have tried to alter that perception. we see mattis and as a very active and engaged local partisan. and there is a reason why madison comes before jefferson and the title of our book. but he has come down in history wrongly, as this cerebral man who is not particularly quotable. john adams. we all remember him from hbo. colorful, often press up and we don't often remember his
interviews. alexander hamilton may be in the process of being revived as a hip-hop star. but the historical hamilton had no room for popular enthusiasm of any kind and looked down on the people and it shows in his writing which is thick and not pretty. so we are left with jefferson who calls america the world's best hope. and most to play a role in modern american politics have conceived of the world's best hope as a reiteration of the post world war ii rescuing of year. as an economy on solid footing that can rebuild stricken nations or transform a japanese enemy into a staunch ally. america has the perfect model for this. and it was jefferson who could
teach. democracies news was america's moral backbone. and so what did jefferson mean by the world's best hope? he utters those words in 1801. as a lifelong farmer, shaped by conditions prevailing in an agrarian age. and entire opposition to urban crowding and disease transmission. it was an existential statement about a largely empty continent with 100 -- 1100th of the american population today. that is the problem. updating jefferson, like liberty and freedom. words that we use all the time but do not precisely defined ever. pursuit of happiness is part of
that triad from the declaration and has a beautiful but amorphous quality. and i can tell you this much. what thomas jefferson meant by the pursuit of happiness was building america as amoral community. in which individuals had opportunities to find contentment in their lives. but how does that translate to today? what is the government's role? he does not tell us. the way that the chinese talk about their 5000 years of continuous history, that makes their people great as a civilization. that does not explain the
autocracy and the institutional cruelty. and they do not express their national identity through impersonation the way that we do. and at george washington and the cherry tree, honest abe benjamin franklin and his axioms we need persons and principled persons to describe profound life lessons about political democracy and so just like
george washington and the cherry tree, that meth, jefferson is a crutch. he is a dreamy democrat, the incomparable wordsmith. all of a sudden he has imagination and we are not sure what to do with that. and so let's be clear about one thing. when we say original meaning speaking out as a professional historian we need to find the truth about their real lives and their land hunger, dangerous financial speculation, heavy debt and far less social mobility than we have imagined or wish. and that is how our heroes of
the founding generation lived and acted. rampant speculation heavy debt and far less social mobility than we would like to see. and we practice a civil religion that the jeffersonian script supports. and it is this obsessive idea that the american republic came into existence because of the fallen old world of europe and that we were somehow a new eden the new jerusalem. these were the terms that they used in their rhetoric and propaganda around the time of the american revolution. that we were the antidote to all clinical tyranny with a message of hope and promise individual substance and strength.
the light of a mind that is free. and the enlightenment found itself in the united states of america. jefferson stood tall at the start of our national experience in describing the power of the liberated individual. and a conscience that is free. so he is our beacon of hope. and he claims that a america did not have poor people or outrageously rich people. it was the world's best hope, perhaps when monarchs ruled the earth. but you cannot get away with such statements except among those proponents these days of the christian nation ideology,
for whom god uniquely blesses america, we have all heard this and it has been spoken in political circles. and so for it this reason the jeffersonian script that i described is most potent today within the republican party. part and parcel of the republican message. and so my book is as much about the fragility of history and the malleability of thomas jefferson and the mal ability of thomas jefferson. the politics of memory, that is what we are talking about. and jefferson can be adopted by the new deal liberals, by the reagan conservatives and by
libertarian activist. the quintessential individualist when timothy mcveigh blew up the federal building in a coma city he had that unfortunate jefferson quote about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants on his t-shirt. campaigning for the republican nomination in 2012, newt gingrich responds to a voter's question about legalizing weed [inaudible] so talk about updating the founders with a precise historical evidence to do that. and jefferson was cited by eleanor roosevelt frequently generally in favor of investment in public education and jefferson was literally ahead of its time when it came to that.
democracy cannot function without an educated electorate and eleanor roosevelt liked that one. he has been cited in favor of of the gold standard and by jesse helms in opposition to the payment of union dues, by ronald reagan putting the brakes on spending. i wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to the constitution, taken from the government the power of borrowing thomas jefferson 1798, the republicans love that over and over we hear it. jefferson did write that in a very different context. and in 1987 when reagan invoked it and by the way madison disagreed strongly with that concept of jefferson taking away from government power, he borrowed heavily to fight the war of 1812 where he was
president. but yes thomas jefferson's words can be quite dangerous. he wrote in 1810 that a strict observance to written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen. but it is not the highest. the loss of necessity and saving our country when in danger are of a higher obligation. to lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself and lose it by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to remove the law itself heard president nixon used that jefferson quote to invoke executive village and justify withholding his white house tapes from congress. and so politicians have as habit of thinking that they can intuit jefferson and bring him up to date. it is what i call jefferson abuse. [laughter] >> research department at monticello has been someone in
charge of tracking down jefferson quotes on the web and exposing what are not jefferson quotes, what a combination and trim combinations of jefferson quotes used to change the contents and that is all a part of this thing that i call jefferson abuse. in 2001, for instance, a texas congressman spoke before the house on tax cuts and he said that mr. jefferson never called himself a democrat, he called himself a republican. the party committed to the preservation of the american republic the core principles that made this country great reducing the size and power and cost of the federal government. and he said he was part of the highest priority abolishing the income tax.
well president lincoln, i believe, introduced the federal income tax. but equating the jeffersonian republicans of 1800 with the republicans of the modern era, i just don't know where to begin. jefferson abuse. 2012. another texas republican. easy pickings. he quoted jefferson is saying that that democracy was used to exist when you take away those that are willing to work and those that are not. and so that is powerful. but jefferson never said it or anything like it. "the washington post" figured it out and call up the congressman. the quote was from a 1986 encyclopedia of -- a political encyclopedia published by libertarian group and the author of the quote was actually somebody by the name of john galt, which is a pseudonym taken
from the fictional novel. and so president nixon said that his favorite jefferson quote is we act not just for ourselves but for all mankind and he wrote that in one of his postpresidential books and he said that a few other times in the white house. we act not for ourselves but for all mankind, supporting the idea of american exceptionalism that this is how the jeffersonian script is used to advance this idea that they owe the rest of the world to bring our form of democracy with a civilizing the moral effect. and that is not conspiratorial finger we are accustomed to.
but not every president i told you about told you about truman, reagan, not every president loved thomas jefferson. teddy roosevelt, he thought he was a wimp and wasn't afraid to say it. and so in a way it is a story of how the democrats inadvertently ceded jefferson to the republicans during the last third of the 20th century and into the 21st. the 1992 republican national convention which occurred shortly after the democrats had nominated bill clinton, ronald reagan said that this fellow they have nominated claims that he is the new thomas jefferson. well, let me tell you something, i knew thomas jefferson. he was a friend of mine.
and governor, you're no thomas jefferson. and i still think the original version of that is the best damned well, a debate in 1988 and you know with dan quayle and there you have it right there what kennedy and reagan and clinton white houses have all had in common with thomas jefferson's portrait on the wall. and again reagan placed his next two calvin coolidge. ergo, jefferson the most malleable of figures. for liberals, jefferson's words reflect a cosmopolitan concern for progress and for conservatives his words appeal to a harmonious home life and a safe and secure family oriented and fairly homogeneous world
community. and having grown out of the self evident truth that all are created equal with equal access to the national economy. and of course, the reagan revolution said that freedom is the freedom for every individual the right to master the economic environment without governments standing in the way or imposing unfair regulations from the center. and so property plus hard work and innovative thought. there you have the modernization of the jeffersonian economic planning, if you will. and here is reagan in his inaugural address of 1985.
let history say of us that these were golden years when the american revolution was reborn. when freedom gained new life in america reached for her best. you see jefferson's first inaugural kind of reappearing in reagan's second. and again, that idea that god blesses america, the american exceptionalism ideal through jefferson, or william jefferson clinton as it was for fdr, jefferson represented positive change. he was an agent of progressive change. in april of 1993, president clinton presided over the ceremonies at the jefferson memorial and elsewhere honoring the 250th anniversary of the
birth of thomas jefferson and he referred back to the 200 and call the strength in roosevelt a modern jeffersonian. but he said, clinton said at the jefferson memorial in april of 1993 that we can honor jefferson bass by remembering our own role in government in our nation to change. for it is only in change that we preserve the timeless values for which thomas jefferson gave his life over two centuries ago. and so only in change we preserve timeless values. in the year 1993 alone president clinton invoked to jefferson on 25 separate public occasion. i will repeat what i said at the outset now that we have been through all of this. the left doesn't own jefferson
the right does not own jefferson. and so if there is very little in modern politics that we can call jeffersonian and politics is not about restoring the founding vision because too much has changed, why do politicians and why does the supreme court pretend that our mission is to recover remapped the founding vision when it seems to have gone off track. and so what was jefferson write about? what was he wrong about remapped that is what historians are asking. i write about a group that exists to protect the reputation of time as is jefferson against all who would demean it by claiming that he had a sexual relationship with his hell serving. and i'm not interested in reviving that debate.
i wrote about it at length in a previous book, "jefferson's secrets." here i am only interested in exploring why those who read the dna differently shift the responsibility to his brother that no one feels any need to protect? why are those in the randolph did it camp moving to this and what is the hoax? why are these people in very much invariably political? why are they quick to imagine that he would have an affair with his mixed race to slay slave? why are americans invested in the libido of our founders were the emotions of a man who lived more than two centuries ago? they are not interested in the
relationships of garfield. so why him? he did not marry dolley interweaves past 40 years old. he was a childless father of the constitution, virginal at its birth? we don't want to go there. in the book of america's genesys, we don't want there to be any common beings. we prefer our founders chased. and this controversy remains a hot button issue because of how special jefferson is in the american imagination. and so what do we finally mean today when we refer to a jeffersonian democracy?
it is our best imaginable america. a fantasy moment when the american dream was part of it. it is a golden age, almost a utopian experiment to harmonize the population and remove barriers in one-week class over the rest. and the best dream of a world in which democracy triumph over tyranny. liberals and conservatives both tend to be more interested in iconic personality creation than they are in understanding the truth about history. they engage every time they make the founding generation for particular founder match up with their own perspective. conservatives in particular crave models of authority and of patriarchal authority.
for tea parties washington, jefferson, they are constantly quoting the founders jefferson belongs to the vernacular into a new fashioned political moralism combining a belief in american exceptionalism with belief in the power of self-expression. even if that individual self-expression is conspiracy driven and disconnected from actual historical experience. so this history [inaudible] many people just go along. we know that the present is disorganized. we don't like to think of the past were the founding era as disorganized but it was. and there is another term that i used in the book called bounder fundamentalist, who might say
are not really interested in history but a redemption through history and upholding a moral standard that was never realized in the old days but represented a faith that turns the greatest generation into perfectible people through whom we can somehow live our lives. and i can't visit the jefferson memorial without referring in my mind to the images that i have seen in the old papers and magazines of roosevelt dedicating the jefferson memorial in april 1943. if you read the panels inside the memorial, you will see what fdr's hand-picked board came up with. it was a combination of politicians, historians people
from the artistic community. and yes, they made jefferson into the arch democrat stood strong against tyranny wherever it would rise. but through a clever manipulation over decades of his life, he was enshrined as an abolitionist. so that was jefferson of the '30s and 40s and up to the time of john f. kennedy he could do no wrong. he was morally purer. he was universally adored and that was the thomas jefferson that mikhail gorbachev also adored. and so as much as jefferson represents an optimistic strand of american political thought
jeffersonian in some and it's fading features are regularly lamented when every generation poses that same fearful question. can the american dream be saved? and however you view it jeffersonian in this presupposed the viability of the american dream and the american dream as a whole. we have for a long time been trying to make our purpose in the world sounds simple. and we have been unable to make thomas jefferson simple. i believe that i will stop there and invite questions. thank you very much. [applause] >> i know that it is late but does anyone have a question?
[inaudible question] >> so during the depression, he looked around and said you were suffering, [inaudible] said few people have the right to a productive life. and he later said that by and large use the same quote from the same president to argue this which of them was right? >> both. and both jefferson and he are powerful because the language reaches across the centuries. jefferson is confusing because his language reaches various audiences and tells the different audiences what they want to hear. and both reagan and roosevelt
talked about his first inaugural address which is arguably the most eloquent and the most what i think is it is the one inaugural address that president keep coming back to you as they review -- there is actual evidence of this. but they are looking for having an impact. jefferson's harmonious script, his script spoke of harmony and affection within a politically divided nation. and we are all americans, we are all republicans, we are all federalists and we could translate that into we are all democrats or republicans.
and by invoking thomas jefferson both roosevelt and reagan believed that they were acting in the best interest of the greatest majority of the american people and i guess that that is probably the best way to answer that one. >> any reason that you feel jefferson is the most famous revolutionary war founder after washington? any particular reason? >> as i have been trying to emphasize he is the only one whose writings still speak to us. you know it would be hard to say that there would be eloquent in anything of washington's. his inaugural address as an example, which he didn't really write himself was kind of dry and prosaic and no one ever said
that george washington uttered a sentiment. he was not exactly a sentimental guy. he was a nasty landlord decides. and so since we are looking to develop a national creation story that elevates our founders what speaks to us better than the language that they preserved that we can see in the hollowed texts that schoolchildren can memorize. it is language from that era that speaks to us because we don't have images that have great meaning. and what you see what the various founders from the paintings that we have in our museums they are so different
because each of them reflect the style of the painter and i think one of the reasons that we look at abraham lincoln and we can imagine him as a living and breathing being, he was eloquent in his words live on. but you look at the photographs and the age of photography was well underway in 1816. you see how he aged from the day that he arrived in washington and the end of this civil war before the assassination. you see that melancholy look in his eye and you feel the kind of emotion for him or you can only feel for jefferson among the founders based on the way jeffersons emotional script continues to speak to us. and yes, we do as a culture and a people, we need to identify it with a past that makes us
deserving of good things. and we don't like to think of -- americans are essentially conservative and we don't want a revolution but we want something to believe in that is universal transferable you know of national pride. every nation has it. what i have been critiquing here is american exceptionalism is a new political dogma that has taken jefferson's language and made it much more aggressive than what it was intended to be. but still i think it is important for us to be able to trace back the idea of american exceptionalism to jefferson in 1776 and the founding documents.
but that is a bit of historical speculation on my part. but i think in accepting jefferson as the founder we learn much more about the genealogy of some of our most hallowed ideas and it seems that american exceptionalism although jefferson didn't call it that is traceable to him and has a powerful hold on the political landscape today. [inaudible question] >> that's a very good question that's a historical lesson, but in brief jefferson recognizes that the wheezy and a purchase was constitutional. but he was so concerned about the amount of time that it took to conduct diplomacy napoleon's
offer might not last the three months, it may take you send letters to diplomats in france. he feared a lengthy congressional debate that would lose us the chance for what he thought would be -- what he thought would be the one purchase that would not only double america's landmass but protect us from the threat or the fear that he had of european invasions, other from napoleon and the french or the british or the spanish and so he acted in haste in concert with madison recognizing that is one of the earlier point that i gave you sometimes he had to defy the law for the sake of national
security. [inaudible question] >> well, i do not know -- [inaudible question] >> i do not know that reagan -- but there is a direct correlation [inaudible] >> it was not part of the discourse at that time. and i will take one more question. i know that it is getting late. [inaudible] >> if you go to monticello, [inaudible] jefferson and madison were a force to be dealt with [inaudible] and so i'm not exactly sure what that is. >> simply the deism that jefferson and madison and washington and others expressed
john adams and jefferson a very close. but they expressed a belief in god who created the earth and the universe but was no longer involved in human affairs. but you would consult rather than go into the preachings that they felt that they would be debating over this. they felt that it would provide more answers than just adhering
to this or another. organized religion is extremely skeptical and the tierney over the mind quote was not about political tierney but tierney over the mind in a letter to benjamin who was like jefferson and the difference between them was that he believed in the divinity of jesus and jefferson did not and he said he never said he was divine and that letter, that quote was about the politicization of jefferson's religion and the accusation in the election of 1800 and he was saying that they had nothing to fear for him.
the religious conservatives have nothing to fear from him and he was not going to burn bibles. all the they believed in was the right to conscience and while he opposes tierney over the mind are the kinds of tierney that he thought was inflicted on prisoners by a certain breed of clergymen. [inaudible] >> that's right [inaudible] >> i have an entire chapter of the hijacking of evangelicals. and so right the chapter is entitled abortion to their hopes and it is a direct quote from
jefferson. and i know it is kind of the honest translation of jefferson's soul into our time this idea that she prayed every day and that they believe that god was involved in our lives, constantly. and the thing is again certainly evangelicals, particularly the untrained historian, david, who wrote a book called "the jefferson lives" he was very much received among evangelicals and that came out around 2012. and so they tried to take jefferson back because the texas school book controversy of just a few years earlier than that declaring that he was an atheist
and therefore needed to be expunged from school textbooks he still very much relied on the cultural wars. the last third of the book deals with religion and i think they you will probably find it very interesting. charting the language and the controversies that have swirled around jefferson on the subject of religion and the separation of church and state. and that is all chronicled in the book. i thank you all for coming out tonight. we really appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you so much. we really appreciate it. also, we have the book for sale "democracy's muse" we will be here tonight with andrew
burstein and "democracy's muse." [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book that you would like to see featured on booktv? send an e-mail, that is a tweet i booktv, or post on our wall at booktv.com. coming up next on booktv, russian-american journalist masha gessen discusses her writings on russian society and politics, as well as a recent book on the boston marathon bombings. >> masha gessen is a russian-american journalist and author whose most recent book is "the brothers: the road to an american tragedy." which tells the story of the brothers tamerlan tsarnaev and dzhokhar tsarnaev. dzhokhar tsarnaev was convicted of all charges, 30 charges