This is somewhat of a response to Senator Obama, the DLC, and any Democrat who still doesn’t get it… it’s also a slice of American history which parallels our own time….
All of the below quotes are taken from “American Aurora” by Richard Rosenfeld, which tells the story of a Philadelphia newspaper from the late 1700’s whose editor was Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benny Bache, who was also Tom Paine’s publisher in America. The newspaper claimed that George Washington wasn’t the “father of his country”, was corrupt, and ultimately may have forced him to resign, and that John Adams wanted to be king. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison & James Monroe agreed.
March 5, 1798 a letter VP Jefferson sent to Philip Mazzei was published in the Aurora (this was back when the opposition held the vice presidency):
…In place of that noble love of liberty & republican government which carried us triumphantly thro’ the war, an Anglican monarchical & aristocratical party has sprung up whose avowed object is to draw over us the substance, as they have already done the forms, of the British government…In short, we are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors & perils
March 21, 1798 VP Jefferson’s letter to James Monroe about the war with France Adams is advocating:
The public papers will present to you in the almost insane message sent to both houses of Congress 2 or 3 days ago. This has added to the alarm… the effect of the French decree on the representatives had been to render the war party inveterate & more firm in their purpose… We had reposed great confidence in that provision of the Constitution which requires 2/3 of the Legislature to declare war. Yet it can be entirely eluded by a majority’s taking such measures as will bring on war.
(Jefferson was wrong that it required more than a majority vote, which would probably have alarmed him even more…)
Same date, letter to Madison:
The French decree… excited indignation highly in the war party… the insane message which you will see in the public papers has had great effect. Exultation on the one side, & a certainty of victory; while the other is petrified with astonishment… We see a new instance of the inefficiency of Constitutional guards. We had relied with great security on that provision which requires two-thirds of the Legislature to declare war. But this is completely eluded by a majority’s taking war measures which will be sure to produce war.
Hello IWR… nice to see you again…
March 26, 1798 Monroe’s response to Jefferson:
The want of light… will not be remedied till more pens are put to work. It occurred to me it be proper for my narrative [the retaliatory “A View of the Conduct of the Executive…”] to be inserted in the gazettes. I should suppose Backe would not object to it…
It seems to me that the line of propriety on my part is to rest quiet… The book will remain & be read in the course of 50 years, if not sooner, and I think the facts it contains will settle or contribute to settle the opinion of posterity in the character of the administration, however indifferent to it the present race may be. And it will be some consolation to me to … do justice to them with posterity, since a gang of greater scoundrels never lived. We are to dance on [Washington’s] birth night, forsooth, and say they are great & good men, when we know they are little people. I think the spirit of that idle propensity is dying away & that the good sense of the people is breaking thro’ the prejudice which has long chained them down.
Wow, he sounds like he should be posting on BooTrib… and damn if I’m not pissed his book didn’t live on… lesson from this… DO NOT rest quiet and hope history will bear you out (although he figured that out soon enough as the march to war continued).
April 2, 1798 Madison writes Jefferson:
The President’s message is only a further development to the public of the violent passions & heretical politics which have been long privately known to govern [Adams]. It is to be hoped however the House of Representatives will not hastily echo them… Congress ought clearly to prohibit arming, & the President ought to be brought to declare on what ground he undertook to grant an indirect license to arm…
Demands for accountability. Ahead of the start of war. Wow. Novel concept.
October 11, 1798 Jefferson writes to Senator Thomson Mason (R, VA):
[The Alien and Sedition Acts are] merely an experiment on the American mind to see how far it will bear an avowed violation of the constitution. If this goes down, we shall immediately see attempted another act of Congress, declaring that the President shall continue in office during life, reserving to another occasion the transfer of the succession to his heirs, and the establishment of the Senate for life.
Pass the tinfoil please… nope, those founders most admired (Jefferson & Franklin) weren’t of a left leaning persuasion at ALL.
1796 Tom Paine in A letter to George Washington… On Affairs Public & Private published by Aurora (he became Secretary for Foreign Affairs the next year):
[H]ad it not been for the aid received from France in men, money and ships, your cold and unmilitary conduct, as I shall show in the course of this letter, would in all probability have lost America; at least she would not have been the independent nation she now is. You slept away your time in the field till the finances of the country were completely exhausted, and you have little share in the glory of the final event. It is time, sir, to speak the undisguised language of historical truth.
We know what happened, war against France and the Reign of Terror in Philly. Jefferson fled.
But he kept fighting. They all did. And then he became President in 1801. Then Madison in 1809. And then Monroe. The winning team transformed America. Some final thoughts from Jefferson:
October 19, 1823 Jefferson writes to Monroe:
[T]he energy of [the Aurora], when our cause was laboring and all but lost under the overwhelming weight of its powerful adversaries, its unquestionable effect in the revolution [it] produced in the public mind… arrested the rapid march of our government towards monarchy…
Let’s hear it for Freedom of the Press, courage & standing strong on principles… and not being afraid to USE YOUR VOICE.
PS – last thing to to show that they’ve always been like this, Rove must have read this book…
April 9, 1798 US Secretary of State Pickering writes Alexander Hamilton:
You will readily imagine what apologies our internal enemies make for the French Government. Jefferson says that the Directory are not implicated in the villainy and corruption…
Wow. Sounds like the typical Republican (although Federalist at that time) talking points…
And if there was any doubt Adams cottoned to a monarchy… here you go…
June 9, 1789 Adams to Benjamin Rush:
I do not “consider hereditary Monarchy or Aristocracy as Rebellion against Nature.” On the contrary, I esteem them both as Institutions of admirable wisdom and exemplary Virtue… and I am clear that America must resort to them as an asylum during discord, Seditions and Civil War… Our country is not ripe for it in many respects… but our ship must ultimately land on that shore or be case away.
[Insert Bush dictatorship quote here]