Tag Archives: Vice President

So, you think you’re in control?

I have got so far, my dear Martha, on my way to Philadelphia which place I shall not reach till the day after tomorrow. I have lost one day at Georgetown by the failure of the stages, and three days by having suffered myself to be persuaded at Baltimore to cross the bay and come by this route as quicker and pleasanter. After being forced back on the bay by bad weather in a first attempt to cross it, the second brought me over after a very rough passage, too late for the stage.—So far I am well, tho’ much fatigued.
To Martha Jefferson Randolph, February 28, 1797

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some things are simply way beyond a leader’s control.
Jefferson wrote to his elder daughter about his journey to the nation’s Capitol, where he would be inaugurated as Vice-President four days later. It was not an easy trip.

From Monticello, he traveled to what would become Washington City (later Washington, D. C.), but he referred to it as Georgetown, now a region within urban D.C., northwest of the White House. The horse-drawn stages weren’t operating, and he lost one day. Then northeast to Baltimore, where he yielded to another’s advice to cross the Chesapeake Bay and then north to Philadelphia. Bad weather and rough water cost him three more days. He was still at least two days from his destination.
He wrote this letter from Chestertown, MD, east across the Chesapeake from Baltimore.

He asked Martha to relay to her husband the prices that Virginia tobacco, wheat and cider were bringing in the cities.

“We could not have asked for a better keynote presenter to set the tone
for our conference theme, Prepared to Lead.”
Executive Director, Nevada Association of Counties

Mr. Jefferson will inspire your audience to become better leaders!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

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John Adams, please don’t die!

… no one more sincerely prays that no accident may call me to the higher and more important functions which the constitution eventually devolves on this office. These have been justly confided to the eminent character which has preceded me here, whose talents and integrity have been known and revered by me thro’ a long course of years; have been the foundation of a7 cordial and uninterrupted friendship between us; and I devoutly pray he may be long preserved for the government, the happiness, and prosperity of our common country.
Address to the Senate, March 4, 1797

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Servant leaders don’t seek power. It seeks them.
This was the conclusion of Jefferson’s address to the Senate when he was inaugurated as Vice-President. He lauded President Adams’ character and prayed that he would suffer “no accident” and “be long preserved for the government,” because Jefferson didn’t want the Constitutional succession to the Presidency.

There is debate whether Jefferson sought power, or whether power sought him.  Jon Meacham, in his 2012 biography, Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power, asserts that Jefferson actively sought control, not only in the political world but in his personal life. I am more persuaded that political power found Jefferson, rather than the other way around.
Once found, he was willing to use it, but it was not his nature to go after it.

Regardless, three and a half years later, Jefferson again stood as the leader of those opposed to the Federalist policies of Hamilton and Adams in the Presidential election of 1800. That time he bested Adams for the job he said he didn’t want.

Jefferson did get an answered prayer for Adams’ good health. Both men lived another 29 years.

“We heard nothing but praise from audience members.”
Policy Director, Washington State Association of Counties

Mr. Jefferson will prove himself praiseworthy with your audience, as well.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

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Is it possible to fair to everyone, regardless?

For one portion of my duty [as president of the Senate] I shall engage with more confidence, because it will depend on my will and not on my capacity. The rules which are to govern the proceedings of this house [U.S. Senate], so far as they shall depend on me for their application, shall be applied with the most rigorous and inflexible impartiality, regarding neither persons, their views or principles, and seeing only the abstract proposition subject to my decision. If in forming that decision I concur with some and differ from others, as must of necessity happen, I shall rely on the liberality and candour of those from whom I differ to believe that I do it on pure motives.
Address to the Senate, March 4, 1797

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Fair-minded leaders do so without favoritism.
Thomas Jefferson had just been sworn in as Vice-President of the United States. (Polling second in electoral votes to John Adams had given him this second position under Adams.)
He opened his remarks with an apology. He had long been absent from legislative bodies and was no longer familiar with their routines. He asked their indulgence and promised to be diligent in re-educating himself.
The U. S. Senate, however, functioned according to rules. He was not ignorant of those rules or his responsibility to enforce them. He pledged himself to that end with no show of favoritism to any person, principle or party. He would take no stand on the issue at hand (unless a tie vote involved him as a tie-breaker), only strictly implementing the rules as adopted.
He acknowledged that some of his rulings would please those on one side of an issue and anger those on the other. Regardless, he pledged “pure motives,” not partisan ones, relying on the “liberality [generosity] and candour [fairness]” of those who disagreed.  

 “I want to thank you for your outstanding contribution to the education and entertainment
of the record audiences you attracted.”
Director, Prairieland Chautauqua

Mr. Jefferson looks forward both to teaching AND entertaining your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

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