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The National Association of educational broadcasters presents another in the series of transcribed programs on the Jeffersonian heritage. The danger of freedom starring Claude Raines as Thomas Jeffersons. Shall I sing you sing. This story is true in a way precisely because it is forms in a way certain of the events have been imagined but the words of Thomas Jefferson out in the spirit in which he spoke and his spirit is that there it is I need to. First.
If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this union. Or to change its republican form. Let them stand undisturbed. As monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. In the seventeen hundred and seventy six the Confederation of British subjects made an exodus out of the bondage of monarchy and in an act of rebellion declared themselves citizens of an American republic. But the idea and of course refused to die. In the year eighteen hundred and one. Mr. John Adams was defeated for re-election as president of the United States but no president was elected in his place. But a deadlock existed between Mr. Annan and
myself and the choice of a new president rested with the House of Representatives. Question quite normally. Mr. Gouverneur Morris the accent you impart to my name reminds me that I am a federalist and that you are a bloody Republican. Why did Jefferson let me be entirely candid with you. You always are Mr modest. I have no use for your Frenchified politics. I am convinced that every single one of your Jacobins is in communication with terrorists at a Mensa reservoir and cesspool of all the morality and corruption. You are a most eloquent man. You perceive it do you. What a pity you put so much faith in the rabble. Jefferson you have sold us out betrayed the American ever stock RC but I must hasten to the point I am a patient man against myself. You delight me very well.
The point there is a deadlock that deadlock could be easily broken in your favor. You don't like my politics moderates why in my favor. I despise Aaron but he is ambitious for himself. You are ambitious we are ideas the country can survive your ideas. But Mr. Aaron Burr's dreams of aggrandizement not quite so easily. There is a vote available Jefferson a vote in the deadlock and it has its price not a high price for the presidency. When you sit in the executive mansion keep those long delicate fingers of yours off the alien a naturalization law they are bad law rather nasty ones but useful. All immigrants are Irish rebels and French incendiaries who vote Republican. One of our little laws makes it necessary for them to cool their heels for 14 years before they can be eligible for citizenship.
And in 14 years much can happen including an American Monica came. Why not. You see I am a snob with no faith whatsoever in your populace. I am not from Jefferson I believe you. I have quoted the price as Mr Jefferson by the presidency. You are a cynical man and a rather charming one admit it. Jefferson You must know my answer. Tell me it is not merely the immigrant who would repel but the new ideas he brings the ideas which have caused him to quit the staleness and the repression of Europe for the open promise that is America. Your depression is how did the French philosopher volley from the shores. It is now engaged in having Doctor Joseph Priestley and scientists like him they thought to find a haven and refuge here.
You would make it a prison until they are forced to flee. I am against you Mr Morris. It does not surprise me. The issue is more than Republican principles. The issue is the freedom of the human mind. Charming. I'm pleased to amuse you. I was thinking of Alexander Hamilton. What a choice for Hamilton and me and Thomas Jefferson. Will this country ever recover from it. Mr. Morris last laughed almost aloud but there was little mirth in the cap'n. It was a city of anxious man crowded with cash by day and by night broke
the noise and the wind blew cold. But there was a heat of anger and that hang themselves my friends came to my lodging to get my accounts. But you'll be good enough to explain to Mr Jefferson by we have called. We are a committee of your friends come to ask you to attend this with us is most gracious of you madam. You will enjoy the singing and I accept my assurance that on minister preaches the most eloquent you are both any kind. I see no reason why I should not attend. I would put it more positively Mr. Jefferson that of the most compelling reasons why you should in fact attend to worship God. And if only for a few hours to find a little peace. Yes of course. But on this particular Sabbath influential reason a political reason. Yes Mr. Jefferson Please go on.
There is no question in the mind of any rational person but Thomas Jefferson and not Aaron is the preference of a majority of the voters. And yet thanks to the curious operation of the election law in the balloting by states there is a deadlock but only a slight change can break it in your favor. Mr Jefferson now it becomes clear that you wish me to attend services in order to influence God to cast his vote for me. An excellent criticism. But to be serious the vote of one man can swing a state delegation. There is a representative from my own state who refuses to vote for Thomas Jefferson because he considers you to be an agnostic and worse. Your friends know this is a false one. And by attending church with us this coming Sunday you will convince our representative of his era and gain a crucial vote Mr. Jefferson. May we call for you on Sunday.
I shall be happy to accompany you. Excellent. Three Sundays from today. Forgive me. Perhaps you don't understand what we are driving at. I understand quite well. Congress is voting this week not three Sundays from this week. I will not make a political instrument of religion no. Thank you Mr. Jefferson which does you credit. But a man's conscience cannot be the captive of legislators or governments or the conventions of bigotry that are rights which it is useless to surrender to governments and their legislatures and which governments and legislatures are always found to invade the right of thinking of publishing our thoughts by speaking and writing. The right of free intellectual commerce. What is the entire issue of this election. If not this we live in a practical world Mr. Jefferson and you are in a difficult situation from which our friends wish to extricate you.
Then I must answer that nothing is so mistaken as the supposition that we can extricate ourselves from a difficulty by deceit or chicanery to attend your church service for political reasons chicanery and a lie a lie which God will surely forgive you. But would my own grandchildren forgive me. I set the oldest on my knee and I say to him I say it awful that he may not forget. I say my child if you tell a lie once you will find it easier to tell a lie a second time and soon you will be telling lies without realizing it and truths without the world believing you. Shall I tell you what I think this did you have please. With that sentiment you may have to be content to remain vice president. Or lie.
I would tell you something. I was no saint. But then you never supposed I was did you or I was as all men are very. Ambitious. As you are ambitious given to compromise as each of us must ever compromise with necessity. And yet in the eighteen hundred one I knew with a certain capitulations of conscience which only served to get rid of life not to enjoy life for the enjoyment of life. There can be but one system of ethics for men and for nations. To be great to be faithful to all and gauge when. And under all circumstance. To be open. And generous. And to affirm endlessly the doctrine that opinion must be free. Conscience must be free. A human mind must be free.
Those who oppose me did not believe this. There were even some who befriended me who did not believe this. There's the Jefferson. It is rumored that if elected you will nominate Mr. Albert Gallatin your secretary of the Treasury is the best man for the post. That may be but Albert Gallatin is a foreigner. Are you not also a foreigner. Mr. Jefferson. I was born in Connecticut. And who were they. Who populated the wilderness of Connecticut if not foreigners come to America from Europe. I am giving you the practical advice of a practical politician. Sometimes such advice can lead to meanness internationalists of spirit. I acknowledge that you come to me in friendship. I do. To tell me that a man must yield what he prizes most to himself. To obtain what he most desires from his countryman. Have you no desire to be president. Not for the power or the emoluments of high office but for the
sake of certain abiding principles of human reason and human intellect. Take care Mr. Jefferson. Your stubbornness will yet defeat show principles and your intellect. He named himself my friend. And this was his counsel and his wisdom. My mouth became sour with the taste. Listen to me I said again. I have sworn upon the altar of eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. I have pledged upon the altar of God the homage of reason the pure order and holy and everlasting struggle against the disease of ignorance and the festering corruption bigotry.
And even as I pledge myself that came another to me holding in his hands a book. Do you know this volume Mr Jefferson age of reason by Thomas Paine. Do you know it. I rather tendentious well but not without interest. Do you defend Tom Paine. I do not defend his bad manners nor his disposition to invective if that is what you mean. He will defend this book. The things which are good in it I do the things which give affront to human sensibility I do not. Have you read the book you hold in your hand if I may judge by your tone. Why not having read it nevertheless you denounce it. It is a book of blasphemy. The work of an atheist who denies God. You are certain of that so certain that I will do this in the name of God stop that I am destroying a blasphemy in the name of God. You have committed a greater blasphemy. I am defending my religion.
Is your religion so weak that it cannot stand the test of truth and reason. If Thomas Paine's book is false and its facts disprove them if false and its reasoning refute it. But for God's own sake let us freely hear both sides if we choose. I do not choose Thomas Paine stands for paganism in the pages you have just destroyed Thomas Paine declared as God is the cause of all thing in comprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to can see what a first cause is. He arrives at the belief of it from the ten fold greater difficulty of disbelieving it. So was it an atheist who wrote that Thomas Paine did. The words are at your feet. Torn and mutilated. I'm sorry truly sorry.
And do you know where those words were written. No Mr. Jefferson in the dungeon into which Thomas Paine was thrown by the tyranny of Robespierre America. And do you know for whom he wrote these words. No. For the people of France. Because they were running headlong into atheism. I am quoting Thomas Paine. I want to fix them to the first article of every man's creed who has any created all. I believe in God Mr. Jefferson. I am ashamed of myself. You're a good man be. You're capable of shame. And then a man so capable would not continue to despoil people of that opinion. This is the evil or we must both fight those who would subject opinion to coercion. You are embroiled in a great contest beset on all sides and I have come here uninvited to do your visiting on the country you have made me happy.
For there was a difference between us which we have resolved without bloodshed and without rancor. And now if you will excuse me Mr. Adams has asked me to call and I must not keep the president waiting. Will you shake my hand Mr. Jefferson gladly. So I go to the executive mansion. Come walk with me. Or so. You. Come also and walk with me. But there is a time for standing. And a time to going. That is a time for sleeping. And there is a time for awakening. In the 801 Congress continued in deadlock.
I went to the house of American President. And there I found John Adams. Embittered by defeat. And wishing a plague upon me and upon I don't. And yet Mr. Adams was attentive to courtesy. We do take a cup of wine with me. I will Mr. Adams thank you. And Julie we show why dilute it with water please. You see I remember your character Mr. Jefferson dilutes his wine but not his philosophy. Well since I'm beaten in this contest by you Mr. Burt I will only say that I will be as faithful a subject as any you will have. You don't drink. I wish no faithful subjects Mr. Adams. The Republican Mr. Jefferson once we were friends. Yes once Adams this is no personal contest between you and me. If
certain ideas we hold are in collision they should not be allowed to affect our personal relations. Your name is that they head of your party. My name is at the head of mine where we both died today. Tomorrow two other men will be put in place of ours. I dare say. Jefferson It is in your power to obtain election in an instant. Is it. Mr. President declare you will not turn out the Federalist officeholders that you will maintain a strong navy and yes that you will keep this nation strong against the menace of the French directory. I see no menace Mr. Adams that the good sense of the people cannot overcome. Well France is over the throne de republics of Holland Switzerland and Venice. How do you say here in our midst a member of your cabinet proclaim that I am such a French agent. Politics has made fools of wiser men than Pickering. He went too far. I dismissed him for it.
There is yet time for you to dismiss from prison the editors of Republican newspapers who Mr. Pickering has persecuted or those editors and those newspapers slandered me. I am slandered each day by all Federalist Papers. I would not imprison the editors. You will change your mind. I hope not Mr. Adams. If I were given a choice of government without newspapers or newspapers without government I would choose the second. It is a good thing. Timothy Pickering is not present to overhear you. He would send you to jail for much less. I know what Pickering is capable of. He has exploited the French threat to put down all country opinion he has branded a seditious man whose crime was that their views were contrary to his own. So there is some doubt as to whether or not I will become the next president. There can be no doubt however
that your Alien and Sedition laws and the extremism of Mr Pickering have contributed to the defeat of John Adams. I'm weary of the whole business. I don't know what has happened under the Richard laws we have proscribed some of the ablest most influential and best characters in the union not yet Jefferson. You will not deny that we are in danger I will not deny it although we may differ upon the source of the danger. You mean then to let the Alien and Sedition laws die if I am elected. I would pardon every man convicted for violating those acts but I consider them to be a nullity as absolute on this palpable as if Congress had ordered us to fall down and worship our golden age. I shall not debate this question with you but I warn you that you expose the people to great danger. Freedom is always in danger of those who would abuse freedom to achieve authority.
Still for freedom's sake we must learn to live with danger. Even as the farmer or merchant who conducts his enterprise learns to live with the risk of failure. We shall race and live. I wonder Jefferson. It is within your power to make yourself the third president of the United States but you will not say the word and you will not be elected. Mr. Adams was a poor property in the eighteen hundred and one I was elected to succeed him. They said to me on March 4th 101 that I spoke you know one of my own and then my words were no great only dimly
but they must be understood I say them again. For you though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail that will to be rightful must be reasonable that the minority possess their equal rights which equal laws must protect and violate which would be oppression. Let's just reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered. We have yet again little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic as we could and capable of as bitter and bloody persecution. Oh I
see. The law. Let him stand with cottage pursue without attachment to representative government. This chosen country with a room and I've put out a sentence to the hundreds and thousands generations entertaining a Jewish center about equal rights to the use of our own faculty. For the acquisition of our industry Dorna and confidence from our fellow citizens resulting not from not from our actions and their sense of enlightened by the nine minute professed Indeed I'm practiced in various forms yet on all of them
including the honesty temperance gratitude and the love of man. And Jefferson so Jefferson sir I have swoon upon the order of the turtle hostility against it every form of tyranny. Oh over them. You have just heard the danger of freedom.
Another in the series on the Jeffersonian Harriet following plans of the noted historian and biographer and prepared with his counsel authentic and historical spirit while imaginative inform. These programs dramatize ideas which are the end during possession of all America and all free people. Today's programme starring Claude Rains was written by Morton wishing Gray. With special music composed and conducted by the ballad singer was Tom Glaser. This program was produced and directed by Frank. Listen. Next week or another in the series of programs on the Jeffersonian heritage these programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcast.
The Jeffersonian heritage
Danger of freedom
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program dramatizes Thomas Jefferson's involvement in the development of immigration laws.
Series Description
This series dramatizes the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, which are"the enduring possessions of all Americans and all free peoples," while being "authentic in historical spirit" and "imaginative in form."
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Actor: Rains, Claude, 1889-1967
Advisor: Malone, Dumas, 1892-1986
Composer: Schmidt, Karl
Conductor: Solinsky, Vladimir
Director: Papp, Frank, 1909-1996
Performer: Glazer, Tom
Producer: Papp, Frank, 1909-1996
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Subject: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
Writer: Wishengrad, Morton, 1913-1963
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-23-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “The Jeffersonian heritage; Danger of freedom,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 12, 2024,
MLA: “The Jeffersonian heritage; Danger of freedom.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 12, 2024. <>.
APA: The Jeffersonian heritage; Danger of freedom. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from