Tag Archives: Mississippi River
The cession of Louisiana & the Floridas by Spain to France works most sorely on the US … of all nations of any consideration France is the one which hitherto has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of right, and the most points of a communion of interests … our natural friend … [yet] there is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural & habitual enemy. it is New Orleans, through which the produce of three eighths of our territory must pass to market … France placing herself in that door assumes to us the attitude of defiance.
To Robert Livingston, April 18, 1802
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders expect the unexpected.
Jefferson, a lover of most-things-French, was dealt a serious blow upon confirming that sleepy Spain was returning its holdings west of the Mississippi River (Louisiana) along with the Port of New Orleans to France. He foresaw the time when expansionist France could use its control of that port to strangle the sale of American goods from its western lands. Those goods had to pass down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers through New Orleans on their way to the east coast and Europe.
Livingstone was an American minister to France. Secretary of State Madison had already written him on this matter, the proper chain of command. So concerned was Jefferson about this matter that he wrote his own very long letter on the same subject.
France’s new ownership of New Orleans and Louisiana, coupled with other unforeseen events, soon led her to offer all of her new acquisition for sale to the United States. Thus, was the size of the new nation doubled. Lewis & Clark’s expedition two years later set the wheels in motion the for U.S. to extend its ownership to the Pacific Ocean.
“It felt like we were transported back in time,
and we came away with a much better understanding …”
Program Manager, Council of State Governments-West, Vancouver, WA
Mr. Jefferson’s past will help your audience better understand their future.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
I know that the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some, from a candid apprehension that the enlargement of our territory would endanger it’s union. but who can limit the extent to which the federative principle may operate effectively? the larger our association, the less will it be shaken by local passions. and in any view, is it not better that the opposite bank of the Missisipi should be settled by our own brethren & children than by strangers of another family? with which should we be most likely to live in harmony and friendly intercourse?
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1805
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Confident leaders embrace expansion.
Jefferson acknowledged that some feared the purchase of Louisiana would destabilize the country. He thought just the opposite, that a larger union was a protection against strong local disagreements. He also thought the republican (small r) principles that guided 15 states could guide 20 or 30 or 100 states.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the size of the union, who would be better neighbors on the west side of the Mississippi River? Would they prefer French, Spanish, English or Russian neighbors, for all four countries had interests beyond the Mississippi? Or would they rather have fellow citizens, Americans, as their neighbors?
“Mr. Patrick Lee did a wonderful job portraying Thomas Jefferson …”
Executive Director, Missouri Independent Bankers Association
Mr. Jefferson awaits your invitation.
No circumstances, my dear Sir, will ever more tempt me to engage in any thing public. I thought myself perfectly fixed in this determination when I left Philadelphia, but every day and hour since has added to its inflexibility.
To Edmund Randolph, September 7, 1794
(Eighth letter down)
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Sometimes, leaders have to say no, regardless who’s asking.
Jefferson resigned as President Washington’s Secretary of State at the end of 1793. Randolph had been Attorney General but took over at State after Jefferson’s departure. Ten days earlier, Randolph had written to Jefferson at the request of President Washington.
America’s ambassadors to Spain had been unable to secure that nation’s guarantee of unrestricted shipping down the Mississippi River. Kentucky was up in arms. All of her exports had to go down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and beyond. She feared an economic stranglehold. Randolph mentioned Kentucky going to war with Spain or separating from the Union as two possibilities of the stalemate.
President Washington asked Jefferson to go to Spain as a special envoy to resolve the conflict. Jefferson said no. He acknowledged the confidence the President had in him. Disappointing him was the only thing that made Jefferson reluctant to decline. Still, that didn’t change his answer.
Despite his protest that “no circumstances” would ever draw him back to public life, less than two years later he would stand as the head of the anti-federalist movement, challenging Vice-President Adams for the top job.
Nine years later, President Jefferson would finally resolve this threat to America’s west (which ended at the Mississippi River) by purchasing Louisiana from France. The Mississippi would become completely an American river.
“I highly recommend Patrick Lee for his portrayal of Thomas Jefferson.”
Executive Director, Township Officials of Illinois
Mr. Jefferson comes well-recommended!
Invite him to address your audience! Call 573-657-2739