Archive for the ‘Thomas Jefferson’ Tag

Jefferson Memorial   Leave a comment

The sky is ablaze with color at the Jefferson Memorial — which is part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Drew Geraci. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 3/27/15.

The sky is ablaze with color at the Jefferson Memorial — which is part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Drew Geraci. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 3/27/15.


Portraits: Thomas Jefferson

Posted March 30, 2015 by henrymowry in Photography

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The Whiskey Rebellion   1 comment

Whiskey Rebellion 00

The painting depicts George Washington and his troops near Fort Cumberland, MD, before their march to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Unknown artist, attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer. Circa 1795. Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thomas Jefferson was a great President. He opposed the taxation of whiskey. And he had red hair! How could I not be a fan?

It all started in 1791, when the House of Representatives, on a vote of 35 to 21, passed the Excise Whiskey Tax. This legislation was wildly unpopular with farmers and eventually precipitated the “Whisky Rebellion.” Farmers, whose grain crop was a chief ingredient in whiskey, loudly protested the tax.

The year was 1794. US citizens in Pennsylvania had decided that the new government’s decision to tax whiskey was unfair.

In July, a mob of whiskey rebels attacked and destroyed the home of a tax official. The reports are unsure, but it seems that some tax officials were tarred and feathered , and some were ridden out of town on a rail … both of which were “extra-judicial” punishments that were exacted by vigilante mobs, not the fledgling government.

There were published illustrations of this phenomenon, such as the one below. It is important to note that the tar used in such spectacles was not the hot, asphalt-based tar that one might expect. Rather, the tar was pine tar, which can be in liquid form at room temperature. But still … the spectacle sought to punish the focus of the event with humiliation. It’s also true that if you were truly riding a triangular, split rail, then you would be, uh, uncomfortable. Injured, even.

Beware the whiskey tax rebels!

Whiskey Rebellion 02

“Famous whiskey insurrection in Pennsylvania”, an illustration from America’s first century: being a popular descriptive portraiture of the one hundred great and memorable events of perpetual interest in the history of our country by R. M. Devens (Springfield, Mass, 1882). From the New York Public Library Digital Gallery; illustrator unknown.

The first US Secretary of the Treasury (1789 – 1795) was Alexander Hamilton, who understood that he needed to create a way for the new republic to pay for itself. One of his solutions was a tax on whiskey.

Pennsylvanians revolted, and an armed rebellion was in the offing. Hamilton advocated the use of military force, which Jefferson passionately opposed. President Washington decided to put the state militias on alert, and then sent in negotiators. When that didn’t help, Washington embraced Hamilton’s view, and sent a force of 13,000 troops – led by Hamilton and Virginia governor Henry Lee – to end the rebellion.

George Washington reviewed the troops at the Carlisle BarracksWhiskey Rebellion 03The final result?

The rebels saw the awesome power of the army, and folded. Ultimately, there were only 2 civilian casualties. Rebellion over.

From The

Not everyone fell in line, though. Albert Gallatin, a Pennsylvania politician who would later become one of Hamilton’s successors as Treasury secretary, called the levy a hypocritical attempt by elites to “tax the common drink of the nation,” even as they continued to enjoy their imported fine wines and brandies. Georgians launched a petition to exempt peach brandy as “necessary of life … in this warm climate.” And Thomas Jefferson, who was known to enjoy a drink, led a successful effort to repeal the tax shortly after he was sworn in as president.


Carlisle Barracks History

Alexander Hamilton: The Whiskey Rebellion

The Daily Reckoning: The Whiskey Rebellion

The Daily Reckoning: The Whiskey Rebellion, Part II: Enforcing The Wealth Tax

The Daily Reckoning: The Whiskey Rebellion, Part III: Ending The Rebellion

Friendship   Leave a comment

Jefferson, Thomas

Posted August 23, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life, POTUS

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Portraits: Thomas Jefferson   1 comment

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, portrait by Mather Brown. London,1786. Painted with a statue of Liberty over his shoulder, and commissioned by Jefferson for $25. Now in the National Portrait Gallery.

The 3rd President of the United States, 1801 – 1809

AKA: The Sage of Monticello, The Man of the People, The Apostle of Democracy, The Negro President

From: Virginia

College: The College of William & Mary

Married to: Martha Wayles

Children: Martha, Jane, Mary, Lucy, Lucy Elizabeth

Party: Democratic-Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Governor of Virginia, Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, US Minister to France, Secretary of State, Vice President

In His Words: “We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

“The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and endeavours of our lives.”

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the State to effect, and on a general plan.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.”

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

“No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as of duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only.”

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

“That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected.”

“Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”

Not true: Jefferson was the greatest writer from America’s Founding Fathers, and it’s inevitable that modern society has created many phrases that support their beliefs, and attributed them to Jefferson. It’s just not true. Don’t believe all of those graphics you read on Facebook. Jefferson did NOT SAY THESE THINGS:

NO – Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

NO – Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

NO – My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

NO – The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

NO – The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

True: Jefferson was appointed to write the first draft of what became the Declaration of Independence. Others at the Continental Congress contributed to the effort.  For example, Jefferson had written, “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable…” Franklin changed it to, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

Months before Jefferson actually assumed the role as Minister to France he arrived in Paris on August 6, 1784 and four days later rode to greet his old friend Benjamin Franklin. When the French foreign minister, the Count de Vergennes, commented to Jefferson, “You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear,” Jefferson replied, “I succeed him. No man can replace him.”

Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington DC. Jefferson also was the only one to walk to and from his inauguration.

Jefferson was vehemently against the corrupting influence of banks and monied interests. He joined with Madison, and actively worked against Hamilton. Washington nearly dismissed Jefferson from his cabinet over this, and Jefferson did leave the cabinet voluntarily.  Washington, however, never forgave and never spoke to him again.

Jefferson sought to purge from government the Federalists appointed to government jobs during the previous administration … a practice common today, but greeted with howls of protest in the early 1800s.

Ohio became a state during Jefferson’s Presidency.

The Louisiana Purchase was completed during Jefferson’s Presidency. Historians disagree with how that happened, exactly. Did Napoleon Bonaparte initiate the transaction? Does Jefferson deserve credit?  Madison? Monroe? The price was $15 million, and it was a bargain. Jefferson gets credit for completing the deal, in spite of the lack of constitutional authority to do so (which Federalists criticized him for).

Historians have long disagreed about Jefferson’s commitment to the anti-slavery cause. Many believe he was the father of one or more children by Sally Hemings, a slave that he owned. It is true that in 1807, he signed a law that banned the importation of slaves into the United States.

Jefferson believed that all (white, landowning) men were created equal and should be treated the same.  His home was open to all citizens.  In 1803, England’s foreign minister came to call on him at the Presidential Mansion … wearing full diplomatic regalia.  Secretary of State Madison couldn’t find Jefferson … but when he finally was found, Jefferson came to the meeting wearing slippers.

Lewis & Clark gave him two grizzly bears, which he kept on the White House lawn for some time.

Jefferson’s original tombstone is on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, my alma mater. His epitaph, which Jefferson wrote, does not mention that he was the 3rd President of the United States!


The Official Portrait: Rembrandt Peale painted the Official White House Portrait of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

Thomas Jefferson, Official White House Portrait

Thomas Jefferson Signature


Big Mo – Bad Quotes

Liars vs. Winners vs. Me   3 comments

I don’t believe people should lie.  It’s what my momma taught me.

I am fascinated by a line of thought I’m seeing in the media that we WANT our President to lie.  I mean, what???  Didn’t President Clinton get in a speck of trouble over that?  Didn’t President Nixon actually get booted after he lied to the American people?

Perhaps the world’s most famous liar, Pinocchio.

And yet.

The Worst Lies Ever

An article in Monday’s New York Times by Kevin Kruse, a professor of history from Princeton, espoused the belief that the lies in this Presidential campaign were the worst ever … here is his conclusion:

To be sure, the Obama campaign has certainly had its own share of dissembling and distortion, including about Mr. Romney’s positions on abortion and foreign aid. But nothing in it — or in past campaigns, for that matter — has equaled the efforts of the Romney campaign in this realm. Its fundamental disdain for facts is something wholly new.

I don’t want to get into a political tit for tat on who lied the most in the campaign.  It’s over, it’s done, and who wants to go back?  However, it’s certainly true that both President Obama and Governor Romney stated things directly — and approved ads to run — that stretched the truth beyond the breaking point.  Websites are devoted to tracking statements and evaluating their truthfulness.

“Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” is the category used by the fact checkers for what they consider the most egregious lies in the campaign.

We need professionals for that, apparently.

Now, we have and, who tell us what they think is true and false.  Many other websites do this, but some have obvious, slanted agendas, like and  Soon, you have spin doctors telling their version of a truth that is based on the implication of the other candidate’s statement after it is taken out of context, rotated and mutilated.

Walter Cronkite was called “The Most Trusted Man in America” as he anchored the CBS Evening News, 1962 – 1981. He ended his broadcasts with “And that’s the way it is….”

Journalism, I mourn for thee.  We used to trust Walter Cronkite to tell us what was right, and he didn’t let us down.  Those days are gone, unfortunately.

Today, we have Presidential debates where both candidates confront each other, saying things like, “That is simply not true!”  In the tightly formatted debates, however, there is no one moderating to require either candidate to respond directly to such basic allegations.  Truth has become a matter of perspective, not a matter of being correct.  And since we now know both sides lie … who cares?  Everyone is doing it.

The Governor did it.  The President did it.

An article in Tuesday’s postulates that we expect our politicians to lie, in that we expect them to do any reasonable thing to win so that they can represent our shared interests.

Here’s how Johnny Schad, my co-worker and the Democratic Committee Chair for Iowa’s Palo Alto County explained it:

“We the people have to be willing to take some responsibility for our government. Politicians (Republican or Democrat) don’t lie because they want to; they lie because we demand that they do.

For example, Gov. Romney had a 59 point economic plan that few people would even consider until he cut it down to a simple 5 point plan. That means over-simplifying to such a ridiculous level that the result cannot be entirely true.”

The Awful Truth

Thomas Jefferson said “The government you elect is government you deserve.”

This scares me to death.

I certainly hope that we do not deserve a government that lies.  I absolutely expect our President to tell us the truth.  Don’t you?

And, finally, I certainly hope that our elected officials learn that telling the truth is better than the alternative … because we need to teach them exactly that!

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