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How will we spend the surplus?

that redemption once effected [paying off the national debt], the revenue thereby liberated may, by a just repartition of it among the states, & a corresponding amendment of the constitution, be applied, in time of peace, to rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, & other great objects within each state. in time of war, if injustice by ourselves or others must sometimes produce war, increased as the same revenue will be by increased population & consumption, & aided by other resources reserved for that crisis, it may meet within the year all the expences of the year, without encroaching on the rights of future generations by burthening them with the debts of the past. War will then be but a suspension of useful works; & a return to a state of peace a return to the progress of improvement.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know being debt free opens lots of doors.
Jefferson anticipated a budget surplus and suggested this for the excess:
1. Some would be returned to the states on fair basis.
2. With a Constitutional Amendment, some would be spent on infrastructure, arts, education and commerce in peacetime.
3. In war time, increased consumption by an increasing population, along with other sources of income, would provide the revenue necessary for fighting.
4. War would be only “a suspension of useful works,” and peace would bring their return.
4. The present generation must not cripple the ones to come by passing present debt into the future.

“I would highly recommend your organization consider Mr. Lee
for an event that will be memorable for years to come.”
Conference Chair, ACSM-CLSA-NALS-WFPS [Surveyors]
Conference and Exposition, Las Vegas, NV
Mr. Jefferson will make a lasting impression on your audience!
I
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How do we regard other nations?

In the transaction of your foreign affairs, we have endeavored to cultivate the friendship of all nations … we have done them justice on all occasions … cherished mutual interests & intercourse on fair & equal terms. we are firmly convinced and we act on that conviction, that with nations, as with individuals, our interests, soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties. and history bears witness to the fact, that a just nation is trusted on it’s word …
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Just leaders value honest relationships with other leaders.
Jefferson’s first inaugural address was forward-looking, the aspirations that would guide his administration. This report, four years later, would be an assessment of their progress toward those goals.

He began with foreign affairs, affirming the nation’s commitment to friendship with all and fairness in its dealings. He said there could be no difference between moral duties and actual performance. That rule applied both to individuals and nations. A nation which was just, like an individual who was just, could be counted on to do what they said they would do.

“Thank you for providing
the most unique keynote address we have ever had.”
Director of Operations, Indiana Telecommunication Association, Inc.
Thomas Jefferson will set a new standard for your keynote address!
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I have had it with you!

Having daily to read voluminous letters & documents for the dispatch of the public affairs, your letters have consumed a portion of my time which duty forbids me any longer to devote to them. your talents as a divine I hold in due respect … of the special communications to you of his will by the supreme being, I can have no evidence, and therefore must ascribe your belief of them to the false perceptions of your mind. it is with real pain that I find myself at length obliged to say in express terms what I had hoped you would have inferred from my silence. Accept of my respects & best wishes.
To David Austin, January 21, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Even patient leaders have their breaking points.
This is an extraordinary response from a very self-controlled but obviously exasperated man!

Since Jefferson’s inauguration 10 months earlier, the minister Austin had written to him 26 times. Austin offered advice and criticism, begged for a face-to-face meeting, almost insisted on a job, and suggested he had divine solutions to the President’s biggest problems. Finally, the confrontation-hating Jefferson had had enough. His blunt reply made these points:
1. I am too busy to read any more of your letters.
2. I respect your position as a minister.
3. Your claim God has spoken to you must be self-deception.
4. My lack of reply should have told you I wasn’t interested.
5. Since you didn’t grasp that, it grieves me that I must tell you so outright.
5. I will be respectful of you in concluding this letter.

Undeterred for a time, Austin wrote six more letters in the next four months and a seventh and final letter in 1804.

“I would highly recommend your organization consider Mr. Lee for an event
and assure you it will be very memorable for years to come.”
President, Nevada Association of Land Surveyors
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Does government help or hurt?

when we consider that this government is charged with the external & mutual relations only of these states, that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, & our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organisation is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices & officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, & sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote.
First Annual (State of the Union) Address, November 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders understand the limits of their responsibility.
Jefferson’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution was that the job of the federal government was two-fold:
1. Foreign relations and national defense (“external …relations”)
2. Promoting commercial relationships and mediating issues between the states (“mutual relations”)

Instead, he saw a national government, desiring to do all manner of good for its citizens, that had expanded its reach far beyond those limited Constitutional responsibilities. The result was a government that was:
1. Too complicated
2. Too expensive
3. Had too many offices and too many employees
4. Sometimes hurt the very causes they intended to help

Jefferson went on in his State of the Union message to explain what he was doing to limit Washington’s overreach.

“The presentation as Thomas Jefferson was by far
the most original, educational and interesting program
I have seen in many years involved with OSLS.”

Executive Director, Oklahoma Society of Land Surveyors
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The value of skill and bravery combined!

… you have shewn to your countrymen that that enemy cannot meet bravery & skill united. in proving to them that our past condescensions were from a love of peace, not a dread of them, you have deserved well of your country …
To Andrew Sterett, December 1, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know when skill alone or bravery alone won’t be enough.
Sterett (1778-1807) commanded the Enterprize in the Mediterranean and secured the first naval victory over the North African Barbary pirates. He had just returned to America after his successful mission, and his President expressed his profound appreciation.

The pirates had been plying their trade for decades and knew it well, capturing ships and holding their crews for ransom. Or demanding annual ransom from nations to leave their ships unharmed. Jefferson knew, despite his enemies’ past success, they could not stand when extraordinary skill and great bravery were combined.

Sterett’s victory accomplished another goal. He proved that America’s past acquiescence wasn’t out of fear of the pirates but out of a love of peace.

“As a meeting planner, it was a pleasure to work with you…
Thank you for a job well done.”
Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
Mr. Jefferson is low maintenance.
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I wish I could help you, but …

The undersign’d … a Young Man, without a Friend, dares to sollicit the first Magistrate of a free People, for some inferior employ, in the various Departments, that, might suit his Talents….
The undersign’d is the Son of an English Gentleman of decay’d Fortunes …
William Gardiner to Thomas Jefferson, September 2, 1801, Baltimore

The nomination of the principal officers of the government only resting with me, and all subordinate places being in the gift of those immediately superintending them, I … propose … [you] make application to those directly who have the appointment in their several lines. if any vacancy be to be found it is less likely to be in the principal offices at Washington (which I know to be overflowing) than in the seaports & other distant places. it would have given me real pleasure to have been able to answer your friendly letter more to your satisfaction.
To William Gardiner, September 11, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Compassionate leaders can’t always do what they like.
Gardiner wrote a flowery letter to the President seeking a federal job. He had lost an eye as a child, was 30 years old, married, knew several languages, worked as a tutor, and enclosed letters of reference.
Jefferson responded graciously, explaining he filled the senior positions, but those appointees hired all underneath them. He returned Gardiner’s reference letters and suggested he would have better success calling on local magistrates for a local position. In a bit of wry humor, Jefferson observed that job prospects in Washington were slim, because offices were already “overflowing” with employees, holdovers from the previous Federalist administration.
He concluded by thanking the job seeker and wishing he could have helped him more.

“What a wonderful session you provided …
I thank you for your well-received keynote address.”
Missouri School Age Care Coalition
Mr. Jefferson looks forward to a wonderful session with your attendees.
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Enough is enough!

I am an enemy to all these douceurs [bribes], tributes & humiliations. what the laws impose on us let us execute faithfully; but nothing more … Congress [should receive] a full statement of every expence which our transactions with the Barbary powers has occasioned, & of what we still owe, that they may be enabled to decide, on a full view of the subject, what course they will pursue. I know that nothing will stop the eternal increase of demand from these pirates but the presence of an armed force, and it will be more economical & more honorable to use the same means at once for suppressing their insolencies
To James Madison, August 28, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders stand up to bullies.
For decades, the city-states of North Africa had preyed upon shipping in the Mediterranean. They demanded annual payment from those ships’ home nations, or they would capture the vessels and hold sailors for ransom. Jefferson had first encountered this offense in the 1780s as America’s ambassador to France and again in the 1790s as Secretary of State and Vice-President. Now as President he was confronted with even more offense. One of the Barbary states commandeered an American ship and its crew to run errands for them.

As chief executive, he was bound by Congress’ will, and they had put the problem off year after year. He was tired of both Barbary offenses and Congressional inaction. He wanted the full cost of American acquiescence presented to Congress, hoping it would shock them into finally funding a strong military response.

Jefferson knew that was only effective way to end the piracy. It would cost more up front but less than bribes, ransoms and the resulting dishonor year after year. His administration took the first decisive and victorious action against the North African nations, but it would be 15 more years before the pirates were finally defeated.

“You did a remarkable job of interpreting Jefferson’s character
and transplanting him, his thoughts, and ideas into the 21st century.”
MFA Petroleum Company/Break Time Convenience Stores
Mr. Jefferson’s ideas are relevant to your audience’s future success.
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How strong should the government be?

… those who will be satisfied with a government of energy enough to protect persons & property sacredly, will not, I trust, be disappointed: while no effort will be spared to prevent unnecessary burthens to the labouring man.
To William Bingham, July 29, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Self-limiting leaders free their followers from unnecessary burdens.
Bingham (1751-1804) was a very prosperous Pennsylvania businessman and Federalist poltician. As U.S. Senator, he administered the oath of office when Jefferson assumed the Vice-Presidency in 1797.

The previous post contained correspondence between them. Bingham was leaving America for a time after the death of his wife. Though a political opponent, he wished Jefferson success in his Presidency and hoped for America’s continuing prosperity.

Jefferson thanked Bingham for his kind remarks. Those who believed, as he did, that the only function of the national government was a sacred responsibility to protect its people and their property would not be disappointed in his Presidency. The government had to be strong enough to do that but no more. In limiting his administration to that goal, he pledged a very light burden on the laboring man, whose taxes would be necessary to support anything more.

“… thanks for your excellent program … being our 50th year …
we wanted to make the meeting very special …”
Past President, Cole County Historical Society
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I serve you best by saying no.

I am duly sensible of the proof of confidence you are so good as to repose in me, resulting from the wish you express that I should undertake the guardianship of yourself & sisters. but since the year 1775. I have invariably declined guardianships & exrships [executorships] even for my nearest friends because I have never been master of my own time, and that an undertaking of that kind must have been to the injury of the persons interested … I am confident I serve you in not undertaking the office.
To Charles Wyndham Grymes, May 7, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders limit the areas where they will serve.
Mr. Grimes and his two sisters were the grandchildren of the late Ariana Randolph, wife of patriot Edmund Randolph. British agents handling her estate were persuaded by correspondence in Mrs. Randolph’s files that she wanted Jefferson to be her grandchildren’s guardian and wrote him to that effect.
Jefferson replied directly to the grandson, thanking him for the honor and confidence expressed, yet he could not take the assignment. For over 25 years, he had declined guardianships and executorships, even for his best friends. As a public man, he knew his time was not his own, and he could not give that legal work the prompt attention it deserved.
Agreeing to their request would cause them loss. Declining was the best service he could render.

“Thank you for making our conference a resounding success.”
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Mr. Jefferson will contribute to the success of your conference.
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I admit it. I was wrong.

The inclosed copy of a letter to mr Lincoln will so fully explain it’s own object, that I need say nothing in that way. I communicate it to particular friends because I wish to stand with them on the ground of truth, neither better nor worse than that makes me. you will percieve that I plead guilty to one of their charges, that when young & single I offered love to a handsome lady. I acknolege it’s incorrectness; it is the only one, founded in truth among all their allegations against me.
To Robert Smith, July 1, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders do well to come clean.
Jefferson had been reelected to his second term as President. The opposition Federalist Party was beaten back even more in 1804. Federalist fury might have prompted the publishing of an unsigned attack on Jefferson in a Boston newspaper. It accused Jefferson on many fronts, including allegations raised by journalist James Callendar several years before. Those charges claimed the President had a sexual relationship with a slave, Sally Hemings, and children from that union.

Jefferson made no public response to the accusations, as was his custom. He did address them in private correspondence to trusted friends, as was also his custom. In this revelatory letter to his Navy Secretary, Jefferson dismissed all other charges of inappropriate personal behavior by admitting to the one area where he was guilty. In 1768, when he was 25 and single, he made an improper advance to Mrs. John Walker, the wife of a friend and neighbor. She rebuffed him. The matter remained private for nearly 30 years, when the Walkers released a highly exaggerated account.

Jefferson never addressed the Sally Hemings allegations directly. Indirectly, and privately, he denied them on several occasions. This is the best known example. He admitted he was wrong in his behavior toward Mrs. Walker and said that was ” the only one, founded in truth among all their allegations against me.”

The “inclosed copy of a letter to mr lincoln,” which Jefferson referenced, might have brought more clarity. That letter has never been found.

Mr. Jefferson pledges to address any questions your audience might ask.
No holds barred.
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