Tag Archives: Pirates

Is a bully ever satisfied?

What are the delays in the performance of our stipulations of which the Bey of Tunis, & Eaton complain? I thought we had not only complied with the treaty, but were doing considerably more … I know that nothing will stop the eternal increase of demand from these pirates but the presence of an armed force, and it will be more economical & more honorable to use the same means at once for suppressing their insolencies.
To James Madison, August 28, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders call bullies’ bluffs.
Madison was Secretary State, Eaton was American Consul in North Africa, and the Bey of Tunis was one of the provisional rulers of the Barbary States on the North African coast. The predatory actions of the Barbary States, capturing foreign ships on the Mediterranean Sea for ransom, had gone on for decades. Jefferson had been vexed by their behavior since his time as Ambassador to France 15 years earlier.

Jefferson thought the U.S. had gone above and beyond their obligations to Tunis, and he was clearly exasperated. The pirates were bullies and would never be satisfied. The only answer to their increasing demands was a strong naval presence in the Mediterranean. It would cost less and be more honorable than continuing to pay bribes to “protect” American shipping.

No bullies and no bluffs with Thomas Jefferson and your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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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 this week.
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.
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

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