Presentation on theme: "Joseph Ellis CTIR Literature Review 4. Learned Latin and Greek. College of William in Mary at age 17. Spent 15 hours with his books; 3 hours with."— Presentation transcript:
Learned Latin and Greek. College of William in Mary at age 17. Spent 15 hours with his books; 3 hours with violin. Inherited land from his father.
Took seat in House of Burgesses at age 26. Opposed parliamentary taxation. Supported nonimportation resolutions against Britain. Though he violated this when he imported a piano and sashed windows. New ruling class supported this as they had supply to meet demand. Poor speaker, good writer.
Drafted it. No big deal. Congress deletions: Blamed George III for waging “cruel war against human nature itself” by establishing slavery. The first settlers came “unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain.” “Our British Brethren” sent “not only souldiers of our common blood, but Scotch and foreign mercenaries to invade and destroy us.”
Had “an infallible rule for deciding what that nation [England] would do on every occasion…to consider what they ought to do, and to take the reverse of that as they would assuredly do.” “I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever…Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Retired as secretary of state, owed about 4,500 pounds to English creditors; and another 2,000. Most of it from the inheritance of land from father in law. Also inflation. Loved books, furnishings, and wines.
Owned over 11,000 acres. But not well planned out. Lacked nutrients necessary for crops. Left management to others. Owned slaves. Disposed of 161 slaves by sale or gift from 1784-1794. But natural increase raised total to 167.
Gave specific instructions that particular slaves not be sold or hired out unless consented. No evidence of beating, and overseers rarely did. Policy was to sell off troublemakers. Often followed wishes of slaves who wanted to be sold (to unite with family).
Two months after inauguration, Barbary pirates on North African coast declared war on US. The leader was mad that the tribute he was receiving was less than what was being paid to Algiers. Ordered naval squadron to patrol the North African coast. Even though he opposed the buildup of the US navy Adams had supported as President.
Thought it needed a constitutional amendment. “It will be desirable for Congress to do what is necessary in silence.” Congress ratified it and passed legislation giving broad power to President to oversee it. Appointed a governor over the territory. Even though he complained of such conduct when Adams was President.
Supported it in theory. But newspapers multiplied and often ran with scandals. Believed “this is a dangerous state of things…and the press ought to be restored to its credibility if possible.” But not prosecuted like with the Sedition Act (he opposed), rather more specifically.