Tag Archives: Equality

We are all equal here. Fooey on them!

On Friday Congress give a dinner on the acquisition of Louisiana. they determine to invite no foreign ministers, to avoid questions of etiquette, in which we are enveloped by Merry’s & Yrujo’s families. … [their conflict will continue] until they recieve orders from their courts to acquiesce in our principles of the equality of all persons meeting together in society, & not to expect to force us into their principles of allotment into ranks & orders.
To Martha Jefferson Randolph, January 23, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Just leaders do not show favoritism, especially when it is expected.
President Jefferson disdained the aristocratic expectations of England’s and Spain’s ambassadors to America. They insisted on favored treatment and were incensed not to receive it. Thus, they were excluded from a Congressional dinner.

Although Jefferson wished his elder daughter could be with him in Washington City, it was better for her that she was absent. His Cabinet Secretary’s wives had already been abused in the press for not fawning over the ambassadors’ wives. His daughter would receive even worse treatment from foes who wanted to distress him.

The President was clear. Other nations:
– Must acquiesce to America’s equality for all in society.
– Should keep their privileged society, “allotment into ranks & orders,” to themselves.

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Reach out to him … You will never regret it!”
Chief, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
The Chief is right!
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The “court of the US” is dead and buried! Part 2 of 2

The Washington Federalist … has published what he calls the ‘Etiquette of the court of the US.’ in his facts, as usual, truth is set at nought, & in his principles little correct to be found.

In the first place there is no ‘court of the US’ since the 4th. of Mar. 1801. that day buried levees, birthdays, royal parades, and the arrogation of precedence [an unjustified claim of superiority] in society by certain self-stiled friends of order …

In social circles all are equal, whether in, or out, of office, foreign or domestic; & the same equality exists among ladies as among gentlemen. no precedence therefore, of any one over another, exists either in right or practice, at dinners, assemblies, or on any other occasions. ‘pell-mell’ and ‘next the door’ form the basis of etiquette in the societies of this country.
Response to the Washington Federalist, February 13, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know all are created equal and should be treated that way.
The previous post referenced President Jefferson’s guidelines for etiquette in America with regard to foreign diplomats. An opposition newspaper belittled those guidelines, as if the President’s goal was to create dissension with other nations.

Jefferson very rarely responded publicly to political opponents, but the Washington Federalist must have really gotten his goat. His response was printed in the Philadelphia republican paper, the Aurora. First, he wrote there was no longer any “court of the US,” as that had ended with his inauguration on March 4, 1801. On that day, all privilege previously associated with Washington society ceased to be recognized within the government.

He concluded with a ringing affirmation of equality for all in social circles.

“The members of our organization appreciate the time you took to research our group.
So much of your presentation was appropriate both to your days and to current times.”
President, Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association
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Would you be ruled by reason … or the rod?

A just and solid republican government maintained here, will be a standing monument & example … that a free government is of all others the most energetic … compared with those of the leaders on the other side [of the ocean], who have discountenanced all advances in science as dangerous innovations, have endeavored to render philosophy and republicanism terms of reproach, to persuade us that man cannot be governed but by the rod, &c.
To John Dickinson, March 6, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Republican leaders govern by restraint, not by the rod.
Two days into his Presidency, Jefferson contrasted the nation’s new government, turned from Federalist to republican, to those of European nations. Hallmarks of republicanism were a self-governed, free and equal people.

His use of the word “energetic” could be interpreted two ways:
– A government “operating with vigor or effect,” Websters 7th New Collegiate, because it understood and stayed within its limited Constitutional role
– Describing a citizenry unburdened by a meddlesome government.
Regardless, it did not mean as activist national government.

What characterized European governments?
– They rejected “all advances in science as dangerous innovations.”
– They discredited the notion of equality for all.
– Man could only be governed by force, rather than reason.

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Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
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