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Category Archives: Commerce

This single act changes FRIEND to FOE!

The cession of Louisiana & the Floridas by Spain to France works most sorely on the US … of all nations of any consideration France is the one which hitherto has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of right, and the most points of a communion of interests … our natural friend … [yet] there is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural & habitual enemy. it is New Orleans, through which the produce of three eighths of our territory must pass to market … France placing herself in that door assumes to us the attitude of defiance.
To Robert Livingston, April 18, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders expect the unexpected.
Jefferson, a lover of most-things-French, was dealt a serious blow upon confirming that sleepy Spain was returning its holdings west of the Mississippi River (Louisiana) along with the Port of New Orleans to France. He foresaw the time when expansionist France could use its control of that port to strangle the sale of American goods from its western lands. Those goods had to pass down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers through New Orleans on their way to the east coast and Europe.

Livingstone was an American minister to France. Secretary of State Madison had already written him on this matter, the proper chain of command. So concerned was Jefferson about this matter that he wrote his own very long letter on the same subject.

France’s new ownership of New Orleans and Louisiana, coupled with other unforeseen events, soon led her to offer all of her new acquisition for sale to the United States. Thus, was the size of the new nation doubled. Lewis & Clark’s expedition two years later set the wheels in motion the for U.S. to extend its ownership to the Pacific Ocean.

“It felt like we were transported back in time,
and we came away with a much better understanding …”
Program Manager, Council of State Governments-West, Vancouver, WA
Mr. Jefferson’s past will help your audience better understand their future.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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You should have nailed it! You have not.

Be pleased to send two tons of nailrod …
I am sorry to be obliged to make complaint to you. my manager desired me to do last spring or fall, but I let it go by in hopes the ground of his complaint was temporary. he sais that for a twelvemonth past there has been an extraordinary proportion of the short & flawy pieces of rod, which cannot be used at all … I have thought it due to you as well as myself to hand this complaint on to you, as your people might carry on this abuse to your prejudice & without your knolege.
To Messrs. Jones & Howell, August 23, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Avoiding confrontation is a leader’s loss.
Jefferson regularly purchased “nailrod,” long thin lengths of iron, which slave boys turned into nails for sale and for use at Monticello. Jones and Howell were Philadelphia iron merchants who allowed Jefferson to buy on credit.

Jefferson’s nailery manager had been telling him for a year of a marked decrease in quality of nailrod. In some 50 lb. bundles, 12-15 lbs. were worthless. In all bundles, there were at least 5 – 6 lbs. of waste.

Jefferson hated direct confrontation with anyone, so he had delayed acting on his manager’s complaint, hoping the problem was temporary. Now, when it was time to order more, he had to address the problem. Even so, he extended the merchants a courtesy, suggesting the problem was not theirs personally but one concealed by their subordinates.

The President showed his confidence in the merchants by ordering more nailrod and promising payment soon of $253.33 for rod received in May. He made no deduction for the worthless rod (10-20% the total) that had already been shipped to him.

“One [attendee] wrote, ‘I have to say that will all the excellent speakers you had for us,
I was particularly taken by Patrick Lee aka Thomas Jefferson.’ “

Executive Director, Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
Mr. Jefferson will be excellent for your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Individual enterprise is smarter than government!

I have recieved the specimens of straw-plaiting which you were so kind as to inclose & …the possibility that you may establish the manufacture in some of the states. but the distribution of powers by our general [US] & state constitutions has placed in the general government no authority to embark in or to encourage … state governments can do it; but they generally leave them to individual enterprize, trusting that the sagacity of private interest will generally discover those pursuits which may be entered on to advantage.
To George White, August 18, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders know who knows best.
White’s wife had perfected a process for braiding straw that in turn would be used to make straw hats. That product was imported from England, and White asked the President’s patronage for establishing an American manufacture. White thought it could pay its own way once operational.

Jefferson declined any help because the U.S. Constitution made no provision for it. Always a proponent for American made goods, he deferred to state action. Even so, states usually deferred to private individuals. Why? Because the wise businessman was far better able to determine economic feasibility than any government ever could.

“Our members were very pleased,
and we are still hearing positive comments and rave reviews.”
Associate Director, Oregon School Boards Association
Your audience will thank you for bringing Thomas Jefferson.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What is best for private enterprise?

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce & navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprize. protection from casual embarrasments however may sometimes be seasonably interposed. if, in the course of your observations or enquiries, they should appear to need any aid, within the limits of our constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention.
First Annual (State of the Union) Address, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders know when hands-off is best!
Farming, making things, selling things and shipping comprised the foundation of America’s prosperity. Those businesses thrived at their very best when left to “individual enterprize,” in other words, free from government interference.

Still, there may be times when limited government aid was helpful. Since this address was to the Congress, he invited their aid from time to time, as they saw fit, provided it was “within the limits of our constitutional powers.” In this instance, those powers were limited to promoting commerce and mediating interstate disputes. Beyond that, businesspeople did not need or benefit from Congressional interference.

“After seeing you perform several years ago,
I did not expect you could improve much on your character.
However, I have to say your program has gotten even better with age!
Missouri Department of Conservation
Thomas Jefferson does get better with age. See for yourself!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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The pirates are in Congress’ court.

… being convinced it is money thrown away, that there is no end to the demands of these powers, nor any security in their promises. the real alternative before us is whether to abandon the Mediterranean, or to keep up a cruize in it, perhaps in rotation with other powers who would join us as soon as there is peace. but this, Congress must decide.
To Wilson Cary Nicholas, June 11, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise executives understand some decisions must be made by others.
Jefferson reported on the conflict with the Barbary states of north Africa. For decades they demanded tribute from nations shipping through the Mediterranean. Otherwise, they would capture ships and hold them for ransom. America, like all nations, had paid those annual assessments.

He thought tribute was a waste of money. The demands of the Barbary nations would never end, and they could not be trusted.

America had two options: Abandon shipping in the Mediterranean or team up with other nations to withstand the pirates. But it wasn’t his decision. It was Congress’.

“Thank you very much for your splendid presentation …”
Conference Coordinator, Iowa League of Cities
Mr. Jefferson will bring a splendid presentation to your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Commerce, Congress Tagged , , , , , , , |

More freedom or more taxes for American labor?

with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
1st Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Empowering leaders encourage citizens’ industry and protect their labor.
In recognition of Labor Day, 2015, celebrated yesterday:
Acknowledging Providential blessing on America, what more was needed? “A wise and frugal government” whose intrusion was minimal, limited to restraining people from hurting one another. Beyond that, people should be left to their own “industry and improvement.” Government “shall not take” (read: tax) the fruit of their labor.

The government’s footprint during the Washington and Adam’s administrations had extended beyond what Jefferson thought proper. So had the taxation necessary to pay for it. He sought an elimination of internal taxes and reported that accomplished in his second inaugural address four years later.

How was government to support its limited functions? By duties (taxes) on imported goods. Only those with significant disposable income could afford luxuries from Europe. That put the tax burden on the well-to-do, leaving ordinary Americans exempt from the tax collector.

“Thank you very much for a most engaging and informative presentation.”
Program Manager, Council of State Governments – West, meeting in Vancouver, WA
Mr. Jefferson is eager to engage your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Commerce, National Prosperity, Taxes Tagged , , , , , , , |

How do you herd cats? Part 2

… nothing was now wanting to bring it into direct and formal consideration, but the assent of our government … I communicated to them the favorable prospect of protecting our commerce from the Barbary depredations … however it was expected they would contribute a frigate, and it’s expenses to be in constant cruise. But they were in no condition to make any such engagement. Their recommendatory powers for obtaining contributions were so openly neglected by the several states that they declined an engagement which they were conscious they could not fulfill with punctuality; and so it fell through.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Subduing terrorists is far more challenging than one might think.
The United States proved to be the hardest cat of all to herd!
Spain had already paid a $3 million bribe to the Algerines. They were not interested in Jefferson’s effort to create a united naval front against the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean. With France’s assurance that England would not oppose them, a number European city-states signed on. All that remained was to recruit his own nation’s support. It was not to be.
Jefferson painted a favorable picture of protected shipping, but there was a cost. The U.S. needed to contribute one of six larger ships needed and pay for its continual operation.
In the mid-1780s, the Confederation Congress was America’s “national” government. It had no taxing authority and no ability to require states to support its actions. The states were already negligent toward “contributions” for other needs and would treat this recommendation in the same way. Knowing they could not fulfill their obligation, Congress declined to participate.
It would be almost 20 years before President Jefferson would send a small American navy to confront the pirates. It would have some success but did not solve the problem. American payments for “peace” would continue until 1815. European payments until the 1830s.

“Hearing Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts about democracy, responsibility and leadership … surely succeeded in reinforcing the call to serve …
Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Mr. Jefferson’s leadership will inspire your audience to lead … and serve!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Commerce, Congress, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy Tagged , , , , , , |

Travel is not what it used to be!

On the 7th. of May Congress resolved that a Minister Plenipotentiary [Webster’s 7th New Collegiate: “a diplomatic agent invested with full power to transact any business”] should be appointed in addition to Mr. [John] Adams & Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin for negotiating treaties of commerce with foreign nations, and I was elected to that duty. I accordingly left Annapolis on the 11th … proceeded to Boston in quest of a passage. While passing thro’ the different states, I made a point of informing myself of the state of the commerce of each, went on to New Hampshire with the same view and returned to Boston. I sailed on the 5th. of July … after a pleasant voyage of 19. days from land to land, we arrived at Cowes on the 26th … On the 30th. we embarked for Havre, arrived there on the 31st. left it on the 3d. of August, and arrived at Paris on the 6th.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Jefferson was recalled to Congress in late 1782, an attempt by his friends to draw him out of his depression following the death of his wife in September. A year and a half later, he was appointed as a minister to France, to help negotiate commercial treaties. He used his travels from Annapolis to Boston to gain first hand information on the commerce of the states.

His journey to France required these times:
– 19 days from Boston to Cowes, on the Isle of Wright, off England’s south coast
– An overnight to sail 100 miles from Cowes to Havre, on France’s north coast
– Four days coach ride for the 100 miles from Havre to Paris

He spent five years in France, greatly broadening his leadership experience. He would return from that assignment to a much larger stage, Secretary of State for President Washington.

 

“The presentation as Thomas Jefferson was by far the most original,
educational and interesting program I have seen in many years … “

Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors
Thomas Jefferson stands ready to impress your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

 

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How simple can you make it?

I proposed therefore, instead of this, to adopt the Dollar as our Unit of account and payment, and that it’s divisions and sub-divisions should be in the decimal ratio … This was adopted the ensuing year and is the system which now prevails … The division into dimes, cents & mills is now so well understood, that it would be easy of introduction into the kindred branches of weights & measures. I use, when I travel, an Odometer of Clarke’s invention which divides the mile into cents, and I find every one comprehend a distance readily when stated to them in miles & cents; so they would in feet and cents, pounds & cents, &c.
Autobiography, 1821

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Honest leaders simplify, so everyone can understand.
In the early 1780s, there was no common system of money. The British pound was prominent, and there was trade in foreign coins. Several states had their own money, often in paper form, with little or no backing in gold or silver.

A plan was presented to the Continental Congress for a unified system, based on grains of silver, with 1440 units per dollar. Jefferson thought the system sound and ingenious but impractical, “too minute for ordinary use, too laborious for computation either by the head or in figures … entirely unmanageable for the common purposes of society.”

He proposed instead a decimal system, with a dollar based on 100 units, easily divisible “into dimes, cents and mills” (1,000th of a dollar). He cited the example of an odometer on his carriage, which divided a mile “into cents,” or 100ths of a mile. He found everyone could understand a measurement expressed so simply.

Nearly decade later, he proposed a national decimal system to President Washington for both money and distance. His always-opponent Alexander Hamilton countered with English measurements for both. To satisfy his feuding lieutenants, the President adopted Jefferson’s decimal system for money and Hamilton’s feet-and-inches system for distance.

“Your costuming and attention to historical detail was indeed excellent …  Many of our attendees found the presentation to be refreshingly different and innovative.”
FOCUS on Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine Conference, Nashville, TN
Would “refreshingly different and innovative” appeal to your audience?
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What do laborers need on Labor Day?

…  with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities [happiness].
Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Laborers need a hands-off government.
Jefferson saw the election of 1800 as the second American revolution. The voters rejected an activist national government and the taxes necessary to support it. They also rejected a fondness toward England and any possibility of a constitutional monarchy.

Jefferson’s inaugural address outlined the major principles which would guide his administration. He tried to bridge the gap between the political parties with this, “We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists,”

Jefferson proposed a government which was wise, frugal, and intervened only to keep people from harming one another. Beyond that, government should let its citizens self-regulate for their own “industry and improvement.” Free to prosper in this way, government should not tax away what Americans labored to produce.

There were a number of taxes in 1801. Four years later, in his Second Inaugural Address, Jefferson would boast about the elimination of that burden when he asked “…what farmer, what mechanic, what laborer, ever sees a tax-gatherer of the United States?”

“The Missouri School Boards Association recommended Patrick Lee
in the persona of Thomas Jefferson [for our Leadership Conference].
There could not have been a better choice.”

Illinois School Boards Association
Jefferson will honor the labor of your audience.
Invite him to speak.Call 573-657-2739
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