Tag Archives: Federalists

Appearances matter, even small ones.

…altho saving of one salary to the publick is but a small consideration yet the Salutory [salutary, i.e. beneficial] scheme of oeconomy so valuable to our repubican Goverment can not be carried into full effect unless things of this kind be noticed…
Thomas Underwood, Jr. to Thomas Jefferson, July 25, 1802

I recieve information that [John] Hopkins Commr. [Commissioner]  of loans in Richmd. being allowed by law 2. clerks and having scarceley occasion for one, in fact employs but one, & gives him the salary of two. will you have this enquired into, and exact restitution of the double salary illegally given.
To Albert Gallatin, August 3, 1802

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Careful leaders promptly investigate abuses under their command.
Underwood was the whistleblower, informing Jefferson that John Hopkins, a Federalist officer-holder and businessman in Richmond had authorization to employ two clerks when he needed only one and was paying that one a double salary. Underwood acknowledged that saving one salary was negligible, but the nation’s republican principles must be upheld, and the people would appreciate the gesture.

Jefferson had to contend with many government employees who were appointed by Presidents Washington and Adams. He accepted Federalist officers who performed their duties impartially but had no patience with ones who abused the trust placed in them.

He acted immediately in this case, directing his Treasury Secretary Gallatin to investigate and recover any funds spent illegally. Two weeks later, Gallatin furnished the President with a certificate verifying that Hopkins had submitted the names of the two clerks he claimed to employ. Gallatin went no further, saying Jefferson’s source must verify whether Hopkins actually employed only one.

The results of this matter are not disclosed, but Hopkins remained in his position for another two years.

“I want to thank you … for a wonderful evening with Daniel Boone.”
Vice President, Site Development Engineering, Inc., St. Louis, MO
Mr. Jefferson’s contemporary, frontiersman Daniel Boone,
stands ready to inspire, teach and entertain your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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A common foe keeps friends united.

the annihilation of federal opposition has given opportunity to our friends to divide in various parts. a want of concert [unity] here threatens divisions at the fountain head [source]. nor is it on principle, but on measures that the division shews itself. but I fear it will produce separations which will be as prejudicial as they are painful.
To John Minor, March 2, 1806

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Realistic leaders appreciate the unifying effect of a strong opposition.
John Minor (1761-1816) was 18 years younger than Jefferson, a Virginia lawyer and Republican. The Federalist majority in Washington had been reversed by the election of 1800 and reduced to an empty shell in 1804. Jefferson lamented an unfortunate result of the Republican ascendency.

Since there was no political opposition to unite against, Republicans were splintering into factions and turning on one another. They weren’t disagreeing on key principles but on “measures,” how to implement those ideas. Not only would friendships be sacrificed over those differences, but prejudices would arise as factions accused one another of bad faith.

“I would like to compliment you and thank you for your masterful performance
of Thomas Jefferson at our 2016 Annual Conference …”
Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Mr. Jefferson will be masterful for your audience, too!
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We are NOT that different from one another.

… the greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people. I do not speak of their [Federalist] leaders who are incurables, but of the honest & well-intentioned body of the people. I consider the pure federalist as a republican who would prefer a somewhat stronger executive; & the republican as one more willing to trust the legislature as a broader representation of the people, & a safer deposit of power for many reasons. but both sects are republican, entitled to the confidence of their fellow citizens …
To John Dickinson, July 23, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Unifying leaders look for common ground with their opponents.
Jefferson wrote to Dickinson (of Pennsylvania and Delaware, 1732-1808), a life-long friend and ally, about the division within the republicans in Delaware. The President was trying bridge the divide between the two major political camps. He didn’t want his own people squabbling among themselves.

In trying to bridge the political divide, Jefferson maintained there was not a great distance between the republicans and the vast majority of “pure federalist[s]”. He cast them all as republicans, devoted to the principles of 1776, but making this distinction:
– republicans gave more authority to the legislature, the peoples’ representatives.
– federalists preferred more authority in a “somewhat stronger executive” (President).

Most of Jefferson’s letters began with just the recipient’s name, and then he began writing. Sometimes, he added a “Dear Sir.” As a measure of his opinion of Dickinson, this letter opened with, “My Dear & Respected Friend.”

“Thanks for your enlightening presentation for the Leadership Academy.”
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mr. Jefferson will enlighten (and entertain!) your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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