Tag Archives: Jefferson Leadership

No cheats! No hacks! No speculators!

… I can only recommend an adherence to the principles which would have governed myself in making the selection. 1. to reject dishonest men. 2. those called federalists even the honest men among them, are so imbued with party prejudice … that they are incapable of weighing candidly the pro and the con … their effect in the public councils is merely to embarras & thwart them. 3. land-jobbers [speculators] are undesirable. it is difficult for them, even with honest intentions, to act without bias in questions having any relation to their personal interests.
Thomas Jefferson to William Henry Harrison, April 28, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders know even honest men can act dishonorably.
The President had been asked to pick five men out of ten nominated to serve on a legislative council for the Territory of Indiana. He knew none of the nominees and delegated the selection to Harrison (1773-1841), Territorial Governor. He recommended three standards:
1. No “dishonest men”
2. None from the political opposition – Even honest ones were so partisan they could not fairly weigh an issue. Their only motivation was “to embarrass & thwart.”
3. None who could benefit financially – Again, even honest men could not “act without bias” where money was to be made or lost.

Thirty six years later, in 1841, Harrison became the 9th President of the U.S., defeating Martin Van Buren. He died just 31 days after his inauguration and was succeeded by his Vice-President, John Tyler. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, served one term as President, 1889-1893.

“Mr. Lee’s creative energy and talent were a major factor
in making this critical event the success it was.”
Program Coordinator, The Smithsonian Associates, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Jefferson will make a significant contribution to your meeting!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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Hail the universal brotherhood of talent & good will!

Th: Jefferson presents his …[thanks] …for the Jerusalem wheat he [Moore] was so kind as to forward him from his relation in Ireland … and his assurances that the talent shall not be hidden in a napkin. the good men of the world form a nation of their own, and when promoting the well-being of others never ask of what country they are. he hopes the US. will shew themselves worthy of these kindnesses
Thomas Jefferson to Robert Moore, March 11, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Inclusive leaders appreciate help from all quarters in all nations.
In a letter with a box of wheat kernels, Moore claimed the seed “to be of a Superior quality, producing double the Quantity of any other kind, and has very little Bran.” He hoped the “Climate & Soil of this Country” would make it a boon to American farmers.

Jefferson loved all things horticultural! National boundaries posed no limits for those whose mission was to improve others’ lives.

Sometime after September 2, 1800, Jefferson wrote a paper called “Summary of Public Service,” listing 11 contributions he’d made to life in America. One was the importation of a cask of upland rice from Africa. He explained why, “the greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to it’s culture; especially a bread grain.” He would promote Moore’s offering of “Jerusalem wheat,” for its potential to feed his fellow citizens.

“Congratulations on your success as a speaker …
we are still hearing positive comments and rave reviews.”
Associate Director, Oregon School Boards Association
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak.
Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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I love that stuff, but duty prevents me!

Th: Jefferson … asks the favor of mr Rodney to be the bearer of his thanks to mr Copes for his communication on the theory of Magnetism … testify to him that unremitting attentions requisite to those matters which duty will not permit him to neglect, render it impossible for him to suffer himself to be drawn off by philosophical [scientific] subjects, altho’ infinitely more pleasing to his mind. he is now hurrying to get through his business in order to make a short visit to his family.
To Caesar Augustus Rodney, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Focused leaders have to say “No.” to favored things.
Thomas Jefferson wanted to thank “mr Copes” for his scientific material that had come into the President’s hands. He did not know where to write to Copes and asked his young friend Rodney (1772-1824), a Delaware lawyer and political ally, to do so for him.

Jefferson loved all things related to science! Those subjects were “infinitely more pleasing to his mind” than politics and government. Yet, he knew his public duties required his “unremitting attentions.” In addition to conveying his thanks to Copes, he asked Rodney to explain why he could not give Copes’ theory the attention it deserved, attention he would have preferred to give.

Family and science were Jefferson’s twin loves. While he could sidestep scientific interests, he would not do so with his remaining daughter and his growing brood of grandchildren. At the moment of thanking Copes, he was trying to clear the decks for “a short visit to his family” at Monticello.

“…the addition of first person interpretation was new to the conference this year …
Thomas Jefferson and William Clark have set the standard for future conferences.”
Director Of Education, Indiana Historical Society
Either Thomas Jefferson or Lewis & Clark’s William Clark will set a high standard for your meeting!
Invite either man to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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They have too much pride to admit their error.

[I] had before observed what was said in the Chronicle of it’s conciliatory tendency. some are of opinion that attempts at conciliation are useless. this is true only as to distinguished leaders who had committed themselves so far that their pride will not permit them to correct themselves. but it is not true as to the mass of those who had been led astray by an honest confidence in the government & by misinformation. the great majority of these has already reconciled itself to us, & the rest are doing so as fast as the natural progress of opinion will permit.
Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Elwyn, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders value humility.
Elwyn wrote a political pamphlet that was published in Boston and had received a favorable review in the Chronicle newspaper. He sent a copy of his pamphlet to the President, who apparently had read the Chronicle’s review. The tone of the pamphlet must have hoped for some reconciliation between political opponents.

Jefferson disagreed with those who maintained “attempts at reconciliation are useless.” That was true of leaders whose views were so rigid that pride prevented them from changing their minds. It was not true of the “mass” of citizens who had been led astray “by misinformation.” Reconciliation had happened for most already and would for the remainder in due time.

In an 1825 letter to a child, summarizing what he had learned in 81 years, Jefferson wrote, among other things, “Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.”

“… thank you for your excellent presentation …
your portrayal and your responses to questions from the audience were right on the mark.”
Secretary/Treasurer, Virginia Association of Surveyors
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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Will you buy one? Yes!

I … solicit thy patronage to a work which I am about to print … It is Brown’s of Haddington, historical, Geographical, Chronological, Etymological and Critical Dictionary of the Holy Bible
its matter is merely intended to elucidate the Holy Scriptures, and not to favor the favourite dogma of Sect or party …
My intention is to have it neatly done, and printed on paper made within thirty miles of this place, and bound in skins of the growth of our hills & vallie’s …
Pittsburgh is becoming a place of business—much of a manufacturing town—I want to lend my assistance in my way, to forward its progress…
I am thy unknown friend.
Zadok Cramer to Thomas Jefferson, Febry 14, 1805

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Cramer and subscribes with pleasure for a copy of Brown’s dictionary of the bible which he proposes to print at Pittsburg.
Thomas Jefferson to Zadok Cramer, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders enjoy having their right buttons pushed!
At age 31, the entrepreneurial Cramer (1773-1814) had already established himself as a bookbinder and publisher in western Pennsylvania. He wanted the President to be the first pledge to buy his reprint of a comprehensive Bible dictionary.
Thomas Jefferson was all in, for multiple reasons:
1. He loved books!
2. He was a student of the Bible and a supporter of religion in general.
3. This work was to educate only, not proselytize.
4. It would be produced entirely in America, with local paper for printing and local leather for binding.
5. It would showcase the product of a western businessman in a prospering western city.

This sketch highlights the enterprising Cramer. Although it makes no mention of this book, in early 1808 he shipped the first of two volumes of the Dictionary to the President.

“In addition to giving you high ratings, participants repeatedly indicated
that you were “inspiring,” “very educational,” and “outstanding.” “

Conference Manager, Nebraska Association of School Boards
Does that sound promising for your audience?
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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What to do about the fake news? Part 8

During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the Press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever it’s licentiousness [without moral or legal restraint] could devise or dare. these abuses of an institution [a stable and productive government], so important to freedom and science, are deeply to be regretted … they tend to lessen it’s usefulness and to sap it’s safety. they might perhaps have been corrected by the wholsome punishments [of] … the laws of the several states against falsehood & defamation. but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Realistic leaders know there will always be serious detractors!
Thomas Jefferson’s naturally thin skin was rubbed raw by the unceasing attacks of his political opponents in the Federalist press. He thought their baseless charges were disrupting and degrading, an attempt to undermine the people’s government.

There was no pretense of an “objective press” in Jefferson’s time. To be fair, there was a Republican press sympathetic to the President that could be equally savage toward its opponents.

The First Amendment protected the press from any federal action, but there were state laws against libel. Those might have been used to correct an abusive press, but public servants had more important things to do than to pursue them. “Public indignation” would be the newspapers’ only punishment.

“Thank you for all your hard work …
You have provided a real service for the educators of Missouri.”
Co-Chair, Teaching and Learning Conference
MO Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak and provide a real service to your audience.
Call 573-657-2739
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What about America’s Aborigines? Part 7a

The Aboriginal inhabitants [native Americans] … with the faculties & the rights of men, breathing an ardent love of liberty and independance, & … [having] no desire but to be undisturbed … have been overwhelmed by the current [of immigrant Americans] … humanity enjoins us to teach them agriculture & the domestic arts; to encourage them to that industry … & to prepare them in time for that state of society, which to bodily comforts adds the improvement of the mind & morals. we have therefore liberally furnished them with the implements of husbandry & houshold use; we have placed among them instructors in the arts of first necessity; and they are covered with the Aegis [protection] of the law against aggressors from among ourselves.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Enlightened leaders seek improvement of marginalized members.
Thomas Jefferson had a lifelong interest in America’s native citizens and their improvement. He recognized they had the same rights and aspirations as all people. Although they wished to be left alone, they were being “overwhelmed” by white people pushing further and further west.

Inevitably, their prosperous future was in “agriculture & the domestic arts.” It was the white man’s responsibility to teach those arts for the natives’ improvement in body, soul and spirit. To that end, his administration had furnished both agricultural and household materials and instructors in their use. On top of this, they were protected by law from aggression by white settlers.

Jefferson believed that given enough time, the Indians could become farmers like the white men. Then they would no longer need vast expanses for hunting, and those lands could be opened for settlement. While some natives were assimilated, he greatly underestimated their attachment to their own culture and resistance to change.

“This is a letter of recommendation for Patrick Lee
and his presentation of Thomas Jefferson …
Mr. Lee’s presentation was fantastic.”
President, California Land Surveyors Association
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Hands off God, again. Part 6

In matters of Religion, I have considered that it’s free exercise is placed by the constitution independant of the powers of the general government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it: but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction & discipline of the state or church authorities acknoleged by the several religious societies.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Strict constructionist leaders take the Constitution at its word.
This single paragraph in its entirety sums up Thomas Jefferson’s views on the national government’s role in religion:
1. The Constitution set religion apart as independent of that government.
2. Accordingly, he authorized no national days of prayer, fasting or thanksgiving.
3. Religious observances were left to state or church authorities.

The word “again” appears in this headline, referencing a 2013 post with the same subject and title.

“You put a great amount of effort into this talk …
a lot of research into medical practice in the 18th century.”
Clinical Laboratory Management Association, Central New York Chapter
Mr. Jefferson goes to great lengths to be relevant to your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-273
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War is only an interruption of doing good. Part 4

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.
Thomas Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Realistic leaders know great conflicts are just around the corner.
Thomas Jefferson outlined in the previous post how peacetime taxes should be spent. In this continuation, he deals with wartime spending.

First, spending on “useful [domestic] works” must be suspended. An increasing population with increasing consumer demands should boost federal revenues. Added to those funds would be money previously set aside to be used only in a time of war. Those two sources should allow war to be conducted on a pay-as-you-go basis. Regardless, war was not to be funded with debt that would burden future generations.

When peace returned, government could once again resume spending on “useful works,” i.e. domestic improvements.

“You most definitely played an integral role in making our awards ceremony
a special evening for everyone in attendance.”
Superintendent, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, National Park Service
Mr. Jefferson can be integral in the success of your meeting.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Tax man? WHAT tax man? Part 2

The remaining revenue, on the consumption of foreign articles, is paid chiefly by those who can afford to add foreign luxuries to domestic comforts. being collected on our sea-board and frontiers only, & incorporated with the transactions of our mercantile citizens, it may be the pleasure and the pride of an American to ask What farmer, what mechanic, what labourer ever sees a tax-gatherer of the US.?
Thomas Jefferson’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Successful leaders should brag (a little).
This paragraph continues the theme of the previous post, the President’s elimination of unnecessary government offices, officers and the taxes to support them. Where, then, did government get the funds for necessary functions? From taxes (customs duties) imposed on imported goods.

Most customs were paid by the more affluent, those who could afford imported “foreign luxuries.” The cost of necessary services were funded for everyone by the few who could really afford it. That left the  vast majority of ordinary citizens … farmers, mechanics, laborers … free from the grasp of the tax man.

“Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging words
on leadership, change and the challenges for our future.”
Communications and Education Director, Illinois Municipal League
Mr. Jefferson will encourage and challenge your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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