Tag Archives: War

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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The peaceful bear must attack once in awhile!

The love of peace which we sincerely feel & profess has begun to produce an opinion in Europe that our government is entirely in Quaker [non-aggressive, non-violent] principles, & will turn the left cheek when the right has been smitten. this opinion must be corrected when just occasion arises, or we shall become the plunder of all nations.
To Thomas Cooper, February 18, 1806

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders know when to do the unexpected.
Thomas Jefferson appreciated America’s geography, separated by an ocean from its often-warring European neighbors. Far more often than not, it allowed his country to stay out of their conflicts. He also realized that non-intervention was creating the opinion abroad that America would not get involved, regardless, even if provoked. If that were true, America would become the victim of all nations.

The President wanted the opportune time, a “just occasion,” for the peaceful American bear to take a judicious swat at its neighbors, to show them how wrong they were.

“Mr. Lee’s Jefferson came across as a real person …
… never “over-the-top” or overly dramatic, but neither dry or two-dimensional… “
Executive Director, Missouri Humanities Council
Mr. Jefferson, a real person, is eager to speak with your audience.
Invite him to do that. Call 573-657-2739
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What justifies going to war?

From the humane & magnanimous policy, which Your conduct & character through life authorize us to beleive you will pursue, we have no apprehension of war from narrow or party policy; but delight in looking forward to the cultivation of universal peace—& liberal intercourse with all the nations of the world—
From Providence (RI) Citizens to Thomas Jefferson, March 5, 1801

The energies of the nation so far as depends on me, shall be reserved for improvement of the condition of man, not wasted in his destruction. the lamentable resource of war is not authorised for evils of imagination, but for those actual injuries only … peace, justice, & liberal intercourse with all the nations of the world, will, I hope, with all nations, characterize this commonwealth.
To Providence Citizens, March 27, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders pick their battles for specific and necessary reasons.
The citizens of Providence, like many others, wrote a congratulatory letter to the new President. Writers tended to be of the republican (small r) vein, wearied of years of non-republican (again, small r) actions. One of the Providence hopes was for less American involvement in international conflict.

Jefferson concurred and promised to use America’s “energies” for the good of mankind, rather than its destruction. If war came, it should be for “actual injuries only,” not the evils of imagination. (What does that bring to your mind?) He hoped open, honest and just relations with all nations would characterize the United States.

“He presented a persona that blended dignity, honesty, and
just the right amount of humor. Mr. Lee’s Jefferson came across as a real person.”
Executive Director, Missouri Humanities Council
Mr. Jefferson hopes for an open, honest and just relationship with your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Everyday stuff in the life of a leader

Harrassed with interruptions & worn down with fatigue; I take up my pen at midnight to scribble you a line …  your clover seed has been forwarded to Richmond some time ago … I still hope to get away in a fortnight or thereabouts. by the next post I shall probably desire that Davy Bowles may be got to bring my chair [carriage?] & two horses as far as Herring’s a quarter of a mile this side of Strode’s & there wait for me. I shall go on horseback that far … my tenderest love to my dearest Martha & the little ones …
To Thomas Mann Randolph, March 6, 1801

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need to squeeze personal time into the professional.
The previous post was written two days before Jefferson left the Presidency. This one is eight years earlier, just two days into that office. Late at night and exhausted from his official duties, he wrote briefly to his son-in-law, Martha’s husband.

In addition to the mundane, reporting on the location of clover seed he had ordered, he said a neighbor was bringing a report on Washington and included another’s account of both armistice and conflict in Europe.

Jefferson had been in Washington over three months, since November 27, sharing a boarding house with many others. He hoped to return to Monticello soon. He would arrange with Davy Bowles to bring his horses and carriage to a rendezvous at a certain tavern, Herring’s in Culpepper County, halfway between Washington and home.

His elder daughter Martha already had four children, ages two to 10, and was pregnant with another. (A sixth born in 1794 had died in infancy.) By 1818, the Randolphs would have 12 children, 11 surviving.

“… thinking that having Mr. Jefferson as our conference keynote to be held
in Richmond [VA] at The Hotel Jefferson would be ideal, and it was!”

Carolina-Virginias Telephone Membership Association
Mr. Jefferson would be the ideal keynote speaker at your conference!
(It needn’t be at The Hotel Jefferson … but it is a nice place!)
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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If this be war, bring it on! But if not …

I love, therefore, … [the] proposition of cutting off all communication with the nation which has conducted itself so atrociously. This, you will say, may bring on war. If it does, we will meet it like men; but it may not bring on war, & then the experiment will have been a happy one.
To Tench Coxe, May 1, 1794

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Determined leaders know the will to war might make war unnecessary.
In the last post, “Does Damaged Honor Demand War?,” Jefferson expressed his concern about European offenses toward the United States. Some American voices were already calling for war. He hoped his nation would refrain and show them other ways to resolve conflict.
One of those ways is the subject of this post. The surest way to stay out of a war was to remain clear of all contact with aggressor nations. That would involve international commerce most of all.
What if the embargo brought war, the one thing he hoped to avoid? “We will meet it like men,” he replied to his own question. But maybe the embargo would render war unnecessary! Then it would have accomplished its purpose, “a happy one.”
It was a chance well worth taking.

“City officials are a “tough crowd” and the ovation they gave you was well deserved.”
Executive Director, Missouri Municipal League

Mr. Jefferson hopes your audience won’t be a “tough crowd.”  If they are, he can handle it.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

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Does damaged honor demand war?

We are alarmed here with the apprehensions of war; and sincerely anxious that it may be avoided; but not at the expense either of our faith or honor. It seems much the general opinion here, that the latter has been too much wounded not to require reparation, & to seek it even in war, if that be necessary. As to myself, I love peace, and I am anxious that we should give the world still another useful lesson, by showing to them other modes of punishing injuries than by war, which is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer. I love, therefore … (to be continued)
To Tench Coxe, May 1, 1794

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Careful leaders reserve armed conflict as the last resort.
Jefferson had retired as President Washington’s Secretary of State and was enjoying the peacefulness of Monticello. He followed enough of the news to know about continuing conflict in Europe and offenses leveled toward the United States. Some Americans felt their wounded honor demanded satisfaction, and even war if need be.

Jefferson preferred his nation remain out of conflict. Not only would America benefit, doing so would be an example to the nations about seeking other ways to settle their disputes.

He wisely observed that war punished equally, not just the aggressors, but the nation who stood against them.

“Please accept my sincere best wishes for continued success with your outstanding presentations to audiences across our great land.”
Director of Operations, Indiana Telecommunications Association

Thomas Jefferson wishes to bring his outstanding presentation to your audience!
Schedule his appearance. Call 573-657-2739

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