Clay S. Jenkinson


Clay Jenkinson is the Editor-at-Large of Governing. A noted humanities scholar and historian Clay received a BA from the University of Minnesota, and an MA from Oxford where he has a Rhodes and Danforth Scholar. He is the author of twelve books, most recently Repairing Jefferson's America: A Guide to Civility and Enlightened Leadership. He has appeared in several of Ken Burns’ documentary films and is the creator of the podcast and nationally syndicated public radio program, "The Thomas Jefferson Hour," heard on many NPR stations.

Clay portrays such historical figures as Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives and works on the plains of North Dakota. He is the founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University in western North Dakota, dedicated to the digitization of all of Theodore Roosevelt’s Papers.

He can be reached at or on Twitter at @ClayJenkinson.

The Constitution is silent on the number of justices on the Supreme Court. The independence of the judiciary is put in jeopardy when partisans settle political scores by rebalancing the courts.
As Congress debates the massive investment in American infrastructure, President Biden announces the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Ken Burns and his team have helped put American history in context through documentaries on topics ranging from the Civil War and Vietnam to jazz and baseball. Their latest takes on one of America’s greatest and complicated writers.
A prolific and outspoken author contends the term "populism" has been turned on its head, and not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has the White House been occupied by a man of the people.
A new book chronicles the stories of sometimes broken, often desperate men who ventured to the northern plains in service of an industry that exemplifies late-stage capitalism.
A decade ago, Williston, N.D., became a magnet for desperate men, thanks to oil in the Bakken Formation. In an interview, author Michael Smith talks about life in an oil patch and the human cost of fueling the nation.
The recent Senate confirmation of the first Indigenous American, Deb Haaland, to lead a Cabinet department gives us reason to rethink our assumptions about First Nations’ relationship to power. A new book can help.
An important new book, Apollo’s Arrow, precisely targets what America got right in its COVID-19 response, and where it must do better next time. And there will be a next time.
The author of a new book on the coronavirus discusses how political expediency and an immature public have impaired America’s ability to meet the challenges and what we have learned as a country and what we have not.
The preparations for President Biden’s as-yet-unscheduled State of the Union address are haunted by a 400-year-old conspiracy to decapitate the British government. What can we learn from the Gunpowder Plot?