Tag Archives: Army
… I take the liberty of urging on you the importance and indispensible necessity of vigorous exertions … [to] render the militia a sure and permanent bulwark of national defence.
None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. to keep ours armed and disciplined, is therefore at all times important. but especially so at a moment when rights the most essential to our welfare have been violated …
… that I may have a full and correct view of the resources of our country in all it’s different parts, … [furnish me with a report of the] militia, & of the arms & accoutrements of your state, and of the several counties, or other geographical divisions of it.
Circular to the Governors of the States, February 25, 1803
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
A ready defense of the nation is a leader’s first responsibility.
The U.S. had no standing army, and the President didn’t want one, for two reasons. First was the cost to maintain it. Second, an army, created to fight, would want to fight and might cause provocations for that reason alone. Far better was a well-armed and trained militia, private citizens ready to provide a first line of defense. If the militia proved inadequate, their existence would provide time to raise a standing army.
Militias were the responsibility of the states. Jefferson wrote to the Governors, reinforcing their role in providing for a militia that was “armed and disciplined.” He asked each Governor to report to him on the men and arms available from each state, county and territory.
The particular violation referenced by Jefferson was at New Orleans, where a Spanish agent had suspended America’s treaty-guaranteed right of free shipping through that essential river port.
“Without question, you enjoy an actor’s sense of timing and theater
that makes a lasting impression.
You demonstrated a steady and clear delivery without relying on histrionics.”
Executive Director, Western Coal Transportation Association
No exaggeration from Mr. Jefferson! Only a “steady and clear delivery.”
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
… [you wish to] know whether some officers of your country could expect to be employed in this country … I hasten to inform you that we are now actually engaged in reducing our military establishment one third, and discharging one third of our officers. we keep in service no more than men enough to garrison the small posts dispersed at great distances on our frontiers … thus circumstanced you will percieve the entire impossibility of providing for the persons you recommend. I wish it had been in my power to give you a more favorable answer; but next to the fulfilling your wishes, the most grateful thing I can do is to give a faithful answer
To Tadeusz Kosciuszko, April 2, 1802
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders cannot honor all patronage requests, even from close friends.
Jefferson’s freedom fighter friend from Revolutionary War days sought employment in America’s army for fellow military officers from Poland. Jefferson could not accommodate his old friend.
True to his pledge to shrink the national government, Jefferson and Congress were reducing the size of its army and its officer corps by 1/3. There were no jobs to be had.
Since the President could not grant his friend’s request, the next best thing to do for him was to explain the issue truthfully.