Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – I think reading some of the great works of the latter part of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century, I think that’s a good place to start. One of the things that I’m learning as I continue to learn and study about this stuff, one of the things I learned is: Who did Madison read? Who was Jefferson reading? Jefferson carried some books around with him in a little leather satchel. I know what two of them were. Have you ever pondered the question of what Jefferson or Madison or Taylor or Henry — I also know what Henry read — or Washington may have read? Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: This is Tim in New Jersey. Tim, you’re next on The Mike Church Show. How you doing?
Caller Tim: Good morning, Mike, how are you?
Mike: Good, thank you.
Caller Tim: Listen, I wanted to reach out to you. A few moments ago you mentioned that there were few if any who appreciated your historical playbacks from your various movies and clips of our founding fathers. I wanted to let you know that each and every time you play the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech by Patrick Henry, it brings tears to my eyes, and it’s often on my way to work.
Mike: Thank you. I’m glad to hear that. I’ll tell Jean Hetherington who did the voice that he is inspirational at 6:30 in the morning.
Caller Tim: It truly is. You know, listening to all the news of the day as it changes and develops and you hear all of these ridiculous overreaches and things going on all around us, you get a sense that it’s an unstoppable trend. The only thing that can kind of provide solace is the fact that there were men 300 years ago that saw these things coming and had the foresight and wisdom to write and speak about them. One can only hope that some of those types of people will emerge again.
Mike: Well, they’d have to be educated in the same manner in order for them to emerge again. I think reading some of the great works of the latter part of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century, I think that’s a good place to start. One of the things that I’m learning as I continue to learn and study about this stuff, one of the things I learned is: Who did Madison read? Who was Jefferson reading? Jefferson carried some books around with him in a little leather satchel. I know what two of them were. Have you ever pondered the question of what Jefferson or Madison or Taylor or Henry — I also know what Henry read — or Washington may have read?
Caller Tim: I haven’t the foggiest.
Mike: There’s a great book you may want to get, and I know this is in the Library. If you look at the top of any page on MikeChurch.com, click that little library button and scroll down about halfway and you’ll see a book called The Mind of a Patriot written by a gentleman by the name of Kevin Hayes. Hayes grew weary of hearing what an imbecile in arts and letters that Patrick Henry was because he didn’t lead as voluminous of a written correspondence and written things about the way he wanted things to be, summaries and pamphlets and what have you. He didn’t leave that stuff behind….
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Caller Tim: Didn’t he memorize a great deal of his speeches? Didn’t he commit most of that to memory?
Mike: Yes. What he did before the Virginia Ratifying Convention, we actually do have some diary notes on that. Hayes actually put together some of the books he read and studied in his earlier youth. Hayes’ goal was to try and paint a picture of someone that was very extraordinarily smart and very well educated, despite what some of his critics at the time, Jefferson chief among them, and what historians after the fact would claim. So he put this book together, The Mind of a Patriot. If you go to the footnotes of that book and you find the titles that Henry was reading, there are very few of them that are still available today. There are some but not many. You can read them online probably at Google Books or maybe at Project Gutenberg.
You’ll have a hard time digesting any of that. The way it is written is so difficult to understand and comprehend to us today. Of course, we’re evolved now. It almost defies reasoning. You almost have to read it and go paragraph by paragraph and try to translate it. You go: Okay, what does that word mean in 18th century prose? [mocking] “What does that word mean today? I don’t know what that damn word means. Why’d they use an F for S? Why can’t they just use an S for an S instead of an F?” They did that with their printing presses. A good place to start, if you’re trying to recreate another great generation of men, would be to educate them on the great works, which our generation seems to be unbelievably and unconscionably allergic to, and they are.
Caller Tim: I agree with you.
Mike: Let’s be honest, studying the great works of literature in an age when you’ve got 3D movies and 70-inch televisions with HD presentation in your home and all manner of surround sound and access to all the same stuff on your phone and tablet and on the backseat of the car you’re riding in in the headrest in front of you, studying Homer or reading the — one of the books that I know Jefferson carried around with him — by the way, Tim, thank you very much for your kind words and for your call today. One of the books that Jefferson carried around with him was Plutarch’s biographies or studies of ancient leaders. The ancient historian Plutarch put these — each one of them is not very long. You can pick your Greek or Roman hero or emperor and it’s probably in Plutarch studies. Jefferson carried this around in that little leather satchel with him that I talked about.
Mike Church Show Transcript – Faith Carried The Founding Fathers Through And It Can Carry Us Through, Too
The reason I know this is I just happen to know someone that studied at the University of Virginia and at the historical society across the street from Monticello. They actually have this particular reference book. It’s one of the few that survived the fire sale or the sale of Jefferson’s books after he died to pay his debts off. This is a big book, if you’re familiar with it. The book is dog-eared. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of dog ears, when you fold the corner of the page over, that Jefferson had dog-eared because he liked to go back to them and refer to them. I believe it was also written in Greek. Why was the great Thomas Jefferson, the president, the author of the Declaration, the co-author of the Virginia Statement on Religious Liberty, the founder of the University of Virginia, twice elected President of the United States, a secretary of state, a minister plenipotentiary to France, a vice president, a chairman of august societies and what have you, why was Jefferson carrying around biographies of ancient Greek and Roman heroes? Anyone want to tackle that?
There probably is very good reason for that, and it was because he was not so arrogant and not so derelict of humility or humility deficient to believe that he knew everything. He wanted to, as many did: I wonder what kind of mistakes those guys, what did they get right and what did they get wrong? That’s what the study of history gives you. It’s not necessarily a blueprint on how and what you ought to do, but it does provide a framework and you can get some indication of how things may have transpired for the good and also how things may have gone bad or how things may have disintegrated and produced horrible, awful results. That’s just a little insight on that.
End Mike Church Show Transcript