Tour of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Home

ABC News' Brad Mielke tours Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home in Charlottesville, VA.
16:03 | 09/20/16

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Transcript for Tour of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Home
Well hello from ABC digital I'm ABC's Brett milky we are here at Monticello the home of Thomas Jefferson. Of course in beautiful Charlottesville Virginia yes your catching in the middle of a road trip I'm going around the country. To different battleground states we are North Carolina yes date later today will be in Pennsylvania. By tomorrow will be in Ohio talking to voters around the country about what matters to them in their personal politics. If you on a road trip. Through Virginia. You've got to hit Monticello. Of course we've got a lot of history books you can probably see people behind me excited to serve explore the space the grounds. And autumn on larger road trip just like I am going aren't different historical places around the US reflecting on the constitution reflecting on the presidency and of course. An interesting year to do that we'll talk about the election in a little bit the first I want to go to Andrew owe Shaughnessy. He's a historian here is the director of international studies. In the Jefferson missed its two here at Monticello thanks for being here thank you very much and good morning and so. What's your background Hugh what drew you to Monticello as it story relying principally interest in the American revolution. And it was professional academic historian. Teaching in the you know this is Wisconsin's system had the opportunity to come here. Some Monticello and of course it's fabulous it's wonderful just right in here. Each morning. If you get to be tied to any war on individual politician Jefferson's the best because it is Bret Boone. Interest and its centrality. The story the American revolution let's talk about this grounds has an element just give you a sense here you guys we the sort of pan around and give you a sense. Of what this place is like. And doctor Shaughnessy maybe you can tell us. Just a little about these grounds what do what do we know about this place steel looking at the famous whistle home view and this is the view that. That is on the nickel. Jefferson designed this building. Gary. Wheels once couldn irony since president. I think he supervised it indeed atlas will read part of the building construction of it. And it was a project with light. The current building that you see. Whistles started during his presidency. And that continued right through his Rick Tomlin it's. The on the side of the building with columns were in the erected. Very laughs yeah of his life. Is that right there is a constant construction site. And so he was Hugh in addition to being a politician and diplomat you're saying he was also an architect. Well what what else we know sort of I like to Jefferson that we don't always talk about a hundred jobs and and Boston this. And these are some the first formal. Dolphins in America that you'll looking. He liked for example so you have. Circular pop ways of street. Tough plays the same with the walls the industry has suffered great. Scheme in this retirement. Was two found the industry Virginia. And again he design the grounds that he design the curriculum for it she chose the professes. And even wanted to have far in those serving the meals and older that students have excellent foreign language to get that food. And I was here yesterday and as a guest explained it to me said. People were just smarter about that scenes because he really had his hand in everything right who is now we think of professional politicians we think of professional. Botnets using a professional architecture firms and he was a guy who really wanted to have a hand in everything well. And this is that period of the enlightenment. And that people did not specialize. That he even the academics and the day. The university would teach several. Subjects. They were pulled immense. And it was possible to be says. There was not nearly the vast literature on any one. Subjects is almost one of the last generations that could. Have that degree Brett. Let's talk about politics than oil as we're gonna talk about politics someone's political road trip. And actually let's let's let's take walker and yet if you don't mind. And if you just tell me. A little bit about the politics of Thomas Jefferson's time as partners president whose election in 18100 what was the political side of the country like then compared to net. I noticed similarities is incredibly. Polarized. It was 1790s. Were relieved the beginnings. Party politics. But was that a huge difference. This with what Richard hopes that. COLT league last stage of the agent from politics. And so it's theoretically. People did not appear to Stan. Knew they were that to serve the public good. Supposedly. But he went into politics reluctantly. Supposedly that's right and they did not canvas. I didn't campaign openly they didn't campaign openly. They weren't they didn't even. Write articles in the new spate. Instead this was all done by third parties I was gonna say I've heard yet Kurt Thomas Jefferson had a tricky relationship with newspapers. It was vicious. And actually both sites. Did the Swiss running against said he was running against John Adams. Hooted was already presidents and Jefferson being his vice pres. He's ticket was we are and the about who mold should be said in a moment. And also against Charles cults with. Bring me from South Carolina. Aaron this was a period when many presidents and vice present them. With. Separately elect. Okay and colts in this particular election. Jefferson arm the famously built. As many cuts as the job. And who went through 36. It's just weeks before. We present was due to be inaugurated. Let's outlets which tests on this shows. Com and out into the dirt yet. Just that we've come across. Where are we right now Daria looking at Jefferson's vegetables. Head fascination. We've gobbling up. I'm for exulted experimented with fifty different Robinson peete. We've worked so more resurrected him as the and Billy Flutie. Because an early fruity. In many ways. His ideas about who it is very low for exiled to leave law. Meet. And he loved it. And it had small. It's. And then beyond this beyond this Dorgan here that it took so much care. The property continues on that's right two wooded originally being. Tiered. So to other similar program. Vegetable gotten some demented. Wooded expanded out into the pump station recently during tobacco. Body and slate people over 600. And slate people what he would during his lifetime. And late during weeks. He also if we went further down this wrote that we're standing on he had they nailed it is well. Now and that was his brief experiment in and more industrial tightness. So don't talk a little bit about Thomas Jefferson's relationship to slate of it will do that in a second because I interrupted you yeah you're telling what the election of 18100 yes and that's when I got truly nasty. Yes I am well leave the elect can either give me the highlights elections for outside Louis sixteen states. The was not any kind of single. Moment of the elections need it unfolded. Throughout. Said 1799. The eighteen. Hundred. Especially throughout the year of 18100. And due at 260. New statements. And that sways sold most of the smear. Campaign. Hamilton. Was using. Third part is so it was Jefferson and Geoff does some famously used. A Scottish editor cold James Kelly and who would ultimately turned on him it was James Callender. Who would late claimant Jefferson was having a relationship. That is. Slaves. News later identified as Sally hemmings and that's where that came from what was then a rumor hand here's his former henchman. That was then the very slightly into debt in this election and certainly not by talent this time was on Jeffords moves. Side boats I am I knew it was quite vicious. I knew what John Adams was famously described as an effort fifty. In one. They were critical and one of the federalists. So rubble of the Republican newspapers. It's one of the. Few insults we have heard so far in this presidential campaign now when you think about this presidential campaign do you see similarities and the way that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are reacting to each other. Or do you see significant. Progress regression to mean what went with a big difference is that the insults come from the candidates. Themselves. Says to some extent he candidates in this collection rate Lutheran and about the phrase. But who's still very and for example Latin. Geoff does some. Someone to a in the post offices schools Philip for an. That is understood he'd be running and you spate. That supported his Republican. Parties is giving in the public office own. New federal pay. Well in fact news. Rules doubling its policy. What do you. Now as we continue down this road here this is this is will mulberry row is that correct this is comb over. Road this was where the hemmings gently. Has that. Slate cabins. And says lawsuit missile household. Slaves who live to low this road we just recently rebuilt. Those cabins signaled to people. Cents effect you concede that struts its windows that about it catch and over this weekend we had a number of the descendants. This is. The descendants of selling out of whether in fact that all of the densely from this year tax and we also. Few months ago had a group who came and stayed in the cabins and a night. And stayed in the Kevin yes so who would descend so it's quite remarkable. And it's. We we engaged in a project called getting word which we. Trace amount of the descendants sweep interviews. Two hundreds of them you can find some Indians views on the website. Patent. It had a relationship with guests and had slavery right I mean yes somebody who who spoke about. Ending slavery but didn't didn't acts necessarily in and expertise that is at about it I need cold is an abomination. And to that extent he was ahead of its tie in he condemned the slave trade in the original throw that the declaration independents. He. Wanted to exclude slavery in the northwest with its. Involved it finely in the media ordinance for the northwest very critical because it helped set up. Kind of sexually some free states six. Slave states. Or lose good. Really emphasized that some of the gulf states were ready. Abolishing. Slavery. And ex presidents he. Use the first opportunity to abolish. The slave traders allowed by the constitution. His notes almost state Virginia. Again these the woman pokey right. Towards the end of the American revolution. With Condon a history of slavery. To. His nephew roads and late life so why didn't you take this issue out. And he said this is for an up generations of guy with. All these slaves yes and it called an abomination still. Continued to have slaves were under and through the end of his life yes I and he argued that actually freeing. Slaves. Would be a cruelty in it white donates it. Society. And he wasn't convinced it would be able to society. He did pull cord to general plan. As emancipation. In this notes on the state of Virginia. It is on the assumption that. The races would not mix. That. Those who'd been in slavery what ago. Out west or go to the Caribbean will back to Africa. And right now here for the last days you guys have the thirteenth amendments the amendment all the slavery on display. Here Monticello when a turnaround actually. And it's give our viewers a sense of what we've come across here. Look at this thing behind us this is the play this well yeah pork. And it is glorious sorry and I don't get. Top of its and it looks good in all seasons. And kept assume full. This is the most beautiful spots on. Americas the best country Virginia the best states. And Albemarle county where we're now. Currently located the best of the best earned a piece of a good criteria. That would let people come here a life you know as I mentioned earlier. Lot of them doing their own road trips their own reflections on American history the history books what what strikes people when they come that this particular. I think it's the the fact Jefferson. Designed. The house. So that it if any this art or possibly gives you this this Deutzman. Introduction. To the posts and who lived. Actual grants rights night Joseph Meachem said. Yeah. That this is the closest thing. And consolation Thomas shifts. And as I said somebody said people are smarter. Perhaps but but also people talking about how politicians you'd themselves. Very much as you know not career politicians would service the people. Go to Washington you have to and then come back here which which were ranged Jefferson's wish that he come back here rather than spend his life in in the nation's capital. Yes well that's what he always said. You always have to be a little weary in Washington says you don't try this Washington said the saying that he just wants to Vietnam to an eventual loser always. That aspects of the sue them that the point is they. She acts as seamlessly they would not ambitious.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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