Jefferson as Secretary of State

Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick

in The Age of Federalism

Published in print March 1995 | ISBN: 9780195093810
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854127 | DOI:
Jefferson as Secretary of State

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This chapter discusses Thomas Jefferson's road to becoming the Secretary of State, the accusation that Alexander Hamilton supposedly preempted Jefferson's functions as Secretary of State, as well as George Hammond's hope for a general settlement. Jefferson, on the contrary, did not want a general settlement. What it came down to was that Jefferson could not conceive the ordinary arts of diplomacy as applying to anything he wanted from England. He did not want a commercial arrangement, because he thought the United States could force its own terms upon England later on, through some form of coercion and perhaps a favorable treaty with France. However, he seems to have persuaded himself that the only honorable way of going about this was to convince the adversary of how wrong his home government was; the United States by right ought to have them without paying any kind of price.

Keywords: Thomas Jefferson; Secretary of State; Alexander Hamilton; George Hammond; general settlement; United States; England

Chapter.  26675 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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