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If you are in Philadelphia on the weekend of July 4, —City where the Founding Father met, debated, and adopted the Declaration of Independence — Thomas Jefferson chats with his peers You can see it doing. He is preparing to attend an important reading ceremony on Citizens and Constitutional Avenue.
That "Thomas Jefferson" is actually Steve Edenbo. A man who impersonates Jefferson and has devoted his professional career to sharing the ideas and philosophies of the third president with the current generation for over 20 years.
"I'm definitely working on the 4th," he told FoxNews Digital about this Independence Day weekend.
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Just before the holiday, Fox News Digital spoke to Edenbo, who lives in Philadelphia (and yes, he'll be pretty busy this weekend). Jefferson as a character — and what the wisdom of the third president of our country offers us today.
Fox News Digital:Please tell us what you are doing on the weekend of July 4th.
Steve Edenbo:The American Historical Theater invites its founders to the National Archives of Japan again to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. This includes a public reading ceremony on the Constitutional Avenue side of the archive.
This is the first time for us since COVID stopped all performances in 2020 and we are excited. This is my 22ndIndependence Dayat the National Archives of Japan.
The American Historical Theater has been working with the Archive on this event since before it started in 1999, but we don't know when the partnership started. At this point, it's at least a quarter century.
Fox News Digital:Why did you choose this as your career?
Steve Edenbo:When I started this almost 23 years ago, I soon realized that I liked every part of it. This job is a mixture of study, scholarship, writing, education, acting and travel — I love traveling. — And it also inspires people. I fell in love with my work early on.
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When you take on these prominent figures, you need to have some connection with them. Like an actor, find a part of yourself in the character.
You are also in constant conversation with that person. The person turned out to be exciting, always challenging, and sometimes frustrating. The more you enter the forest, the bigger and more complex the tree becomes.
The actual third president, Thomas Jefferson, Official Presidential Portrait (Rembrandt Peale, December 31, 1799). (public domain)
Jefferson is in the midst of all the big problems [in our country] in a way that no other founder has. I'm in. The challenge, which also makes this work interesting and makes Jefferson, for better or for worse, still very relevant.
Fox News Digital:How did you get started with this job?
Edenbo:I attended Dickinson College [in Carlisle, Pennsylvania] as an English major, where I took several acting courses. I moved to Philadelphia to pursue acting and attended the American Historical Theater in Philadelphia.
The main characters there saw my physical similarity to Jefferson and learned that I was an avid reader and writer. Meetings and meetings required "Jefferson". I fell in love with everything.
I'm on the board of the American History Theater now and I'm trying to give back — they gave me my start. We tell a wide range of stories of historical figures, and if you are approaching history through all the means available, this is yet another way in.
Fox News Digital:Give us an idea of the kind of gig you have.
Edenbo:Everything from Fortune 500 leadership meetings to stage discussions.
I work with the FBI twice a year, which falls into my "most challenging" category. I started a leadership meeting for them about 5 years ago. We also held seminars for police chiefs nationwide and around the world.
"Tell second graders why they're supposed to care and they'll lose them. You need to understand what's important to them. There is, and then history is tied to it. "
Some of these seminars focus on the American Constitution, and as one of the events, the chief to Monticello. Take me there and meet "Thomas Jefferson".
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I personally make history essential I think it's worth it. The challenge is how to reach people. People who are busy protecting us, like the FBI. How do you tell them this history? If you're talking to a Fortune 500 CEO or a sophomore in middle school, the same question is asked. How do you contact where they are?
Tell second graders why they are supposed to care and they will be lost. You need to understand what is important to them. Then connect history to it.
Real Thomas Jefferson. Personally — sometimes I personally disagree, "Steve Edenbo told Fox News Digital about Jefferson's impersonation and his work as a character actor. (Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group by Getty Images)
Fox News Digital:You play Jefferson.
Edenbo:There is a range. When I first appeared in the FBI, I was scared. I wanted to do it right for them because they endanger our lives.
After a presentation, an FBI member invited me to fried chicken at a restaurant near Monticello. This is one of the heartfelt compliments I have received so far.
Some people are angry with me. Of course, they are angry with Jefferson and part of his legacy. But in a way, it's a compliment. They challenge me while I have a personality and I'm in a hot seat.
Thomas Jefferson's spoofing Steve Edenbo You will see it here, with characters and costumes. "If anyone wants to talk about modern issues, I'll try to answer with historical analogues," Edenbo told Fox News Digital. (Karla Korn)
I invite it — Jefferson also invites it. This challenges our history and gets involved in our history.
If anyone wants to talk about a modern problem, I will answer with a historical analog, a historical example, event, or situation that exemplifies the pattern we continue to see. will do. You can see that the pattern is repeated. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but you can find out how people in the past worked on that scenario.
Admitting [founder's] failures as warnings and exemplifying their successes has the advantage that we can pick them up and use them again.
"I often say this at leadership meetings:" Anyone who refuses to talk about failure should not listen when talking about success. "
You can also eliminate my own politics by using analog. This avoids the trap of making Jefferson the mouthpiece of my own personal politics.
Of course, I vote and participate in democracy. What I have to say in order to accurately describe Jefferson may or may not be personally agreed.
I often say this at leadership meetings: "People who refuse to talk about their failures should not listen when they talk about their success.
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Fox News Digital:Sharing Our thoughts on Jefferson's Constitution — and how you share these with your audience.
Edenbo:Jefferson believed that the Constitution and the United States and the world belong to the living generation, not the dead.
The constitution is displayed in the background .. There is a building of the Parliament building in the foreground here. (iStock)
Jefferson used the legal term usufruct — for this idea. , "The world belongs to the life of usufruct." This means that you have the right to use something — this word is a combination of the Latin words "use" and "fruit". It's — you have the right to use some fruit and benefit from it, but not in that way the ability to destroy the thing itself and enjoy it like you do for the people who come after you Destroy
The earth belongs to the life of usufruct, and the United States belongs to the life of usufruct. We should enjoy freedom, but it is not a way to destroy it for the people who come after us.
Jefferson went farther than I could personally go with some of his ideas. He thought we should have aConstitutional Councilfor each generation. I like that passion, but it doesn't work.
"We should enjoy freedom, but it is not the way to destroy it for the people who come after us."
He took his thoughts really far, and James Madison [known as the Father of the Constitution] pulled him back and was a ballast to him. Madison was a constitutionally far more tactical thinker.
This idea is very Jeffersonian. If you consider the Constitution as a permanent and immutable document, and the founder as a praised and almost worshiped prophet, it turns into the Tower of Babel. — Divide us instead of unifying us.
Fasimir United States of the United States Constitution. (Fotosearch / Getty Images)
Of course, the other extreme examples are: The Constitution no longer works and the word becomes meaningless. We are no longer a nation of law over the will of men.
Jefferson also warned against this. He said he had to interpret the Constitution, but warned that "eventually patchwork would overtake clothes," and made too many changes.
This quote is from Washington, D. C. Engraved on the Jefferson Memorial, which explains Jefferson's thoughts. Civilized societies have so far remained under the regimen of their barbaric ancestors.
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Jefferson needs to make new clothes for each generation I was convinced that there was.
July 4, Jefferson's words are true. The truth is that the masses of mankind have not been born, have saddles on their backs, and have not been spurred by a small number of favorable people who are legally ready to ride by the grace of God. These are the grounds for the hopes of others. The annual return of the day refreshes our memory of these rights and our unabated dedication to them forever.
(From Thomas Jefferson's letter to politician Roger C. Waitman, Monticello, June 24, 1826)
Diadora Rayleigh is Life Advanced Style Editor at FoxNewsDigital.