You are here

Jefferson and the Early Diplomatic Corps

The recent controversy over release of U.S. diplomatic cables via Wikileaks got us thinking about how Jefferson, the U.S.'s first Secretary of State under the Constitution, and his successors communicated with their ambassadors and consuls abroad.

Luckily, we knew just who to turn to: Jean Bauer, creator of "The Early American Foreign Service Database," a website that allows users to trace the early American governments' attempts to deploy and control their overseas representatives and provides access to biographical and professional information about all America's foreign service officers from 1775 through the administration of John Quincy Adams.

Earlier this month, we invited Ms. Bauer to our Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies to talk with Eric Johnson, Monticello's New Media Specialist, and give us a little background on the subject.(Added to Monticello Podcasts on Dec. 2, 2010. Approx. 25 min. )


hsloan's picture
Rumor has it the United States had no ambassadors in the days covered by Jean Bauer's excellent data base--just ministers. The point has some importance since it reflects the fact that the US had yet to be reocgnized as one of the powers, and in that age only the top dogs got to have ambassadors. In short, then, there were no US ambassadors for TJ to communicate with.
Herb Sloan


Login or register to participate in our online community.