Tag Archives: Foreign relations

Jefferson’s “State of the Union” in 1805? Part 2

Turning from these unpleasant views of violence and wrong, I congratulate you on the liberation of our fellow-citizens who were stranded on the coast of Tripoli and made prisoners of war …
With Tunis some misunderstandings have arisen not yet sufficiently explained …
The law providing for a naval peace establishment … Congress will perhaps consider whether the best limitation on the Executive [President’s] discretion [is to limit the number of seamen or the number of vessels] …
Our Indian neighbors are advancing, many of them with spirit, and others beginning to engage in the pursuits of agriculture and household manufacture … from time to time to dispose of parts of their surplus and waste lands …
The receipts at the Treasury during the year … which , with [the surplus] … have enabled us after meeting other demands to pay nearly two millions of the debt contracted under the British treaty  … upward of four millions of principle of the public debt and four millions of interest. These payments, with those which had been made in three years and a half preceding, have extinguished of the funded debt nearly eighteen millions of principle.
Fifth Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1805

 Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders keep everyone informed.
These excerpts summarize the second half of Jefferson’s fifth “State of the Union” report, the one corresponding to President Obama’s address in January.
1. There’s good news to report from north Africa. Tripoli pirates have been dealt with, and those in Tunis appear to be moving toward settlement. (Terrorists in north Africa. Sound familiar?)
2. He asked clarification from Congress on his authority for ships vs. sailors. (The President is asking, rather than assuming or taking.)
3. Some Indians were actively oppositional while others were coming to an agricultural life and making portions of their lands available for settlement.
4. The government was continuing to run a surplus, reducing the national debt by $18 million in 3 ½ years. (Imagine that!)
He concluded by noting his re-election and pledging his best efforts for the nation and every possible cooperation with the Congress. (He enjoyed an enviable Presidential position of having his party control sizable majorities in both houses.)

“Our attendees raved about Mr. Jefferson and the words of wisdom he had to offer them.”
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Mr. Jefferson has words of wisdom for your audience, too! Call 573-657-2739

Leave a comment Posted in Congress, Foreign Policy, Native Americans Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Jefferson’s “State of the Union” in 1805? Part 1

…  when the nations of Europe are in commotion and arming against each other … a meeting of the representatives of the nation in both Houses of Congress has become more than usually desirable…
we in the first place notice the late affliction of two of our cities under the fatal fever which in latter times has occasionally visited our shores. Providence in His goodness gave it an early termination on this occasion and lessened the number of victims which have usually fallen before it …
Our coasts have been infested and our harbors watched by private armed vessels …
The same system of hovering on our coasts and harbors … has been also carried on by public armed ships to the great annoyance and oppression of our commerce …
With Spain our negotiations for a settlement of differences have not had a satisfactory issue…
In reviewing these injuries from some of the belligerent powers … you will consider whether … to organize or class the militia as would enable us on any sudden emergency …
Considerable provision has been made…for the construction of ships of war of 74 guns …
Fifth Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
(My apologies! I’ve had major problems with my email notifications. This was supposed to go out right after President Obama’s State of the Union address. It did go out, many times, but you never got it. Maybe this time …? )
Effective leaders keep their partners in leadership well-informed.
President Obama recently delivered his State of the Union address, as required by the Constitution. It was his 5th annual message, and the first after his re-election. Here are excerpts from Jefferson’s corresponding message, delivered in writing to Congress, not as an address.
I’ve excerpted his 2,900 word message into less than 400 words, divided into two posts. I’ve included each of the major issues he addressed.
Several notes:
1. He welcomed Congress’ return, because world events were troublesome.
2. His first concern was public health, thanking “Providence in His goodness” for sparing them a worse plague.
3. His major concerns were national defense and foreign relations, two of the few responsibilities of the national government.
4. He wanted a more effective militia and a stronger navy to deal with foreign threats.
The 9th U.S. Congress convened for one day for Jefferson’s inauguration, March 4, 1805, and then adjourned until December 2. That explains why his Annual Message came at the end of the year, when Congress first met to take up its business.

“I cannot say it better than the board member who wrote,
“Well done, enjoyable, and timeless.” … Thanks again for the
splendid job!”
Nebraska Association of School Boards
Invite Thomas Jefferson to inspire your audience! Call 573-657-2739

Leave a comment Posted in Congress, Foreign Policy, Military / Militia Tagged , , , , |