"I never like to be rude, but sometimes one has to set the precedent for a society that will shock the world."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
This week, we discuss diplomacy and presidential decorum. When the British Ambassador Anthony Merry came to the White House, Jefferson went out of his way to be rude: to make it clear that the Revolution was won by us, not them.
"You can't understand Jefferson without understanding slavery; you can't understand the paradox of his life and the words that he wrote in the Declaration of Independence without understanding this historical connection with Sally Hemings and with the enslaved people in general at Monticello."
Jefferson's model was the Latin poet Horace who shunned the sewers of Rome to live on his modest Sabine farm, where he worked in the soil by day and at night drank a couple of glasses of good-enough wine with his virtuous spouse before the fireplace in their modest cottage.