The Secrets of America

The state entity called “The United States of America” in the dawn of its existence had such fortune to have as key persons deserving for its genesis extraordinary eruditi, exceptional lawyers, pragmatic diplomats and such personalities worthy of filling the top ranks of any nation. Among the pléiade of the most important figures for the genesis of the USA and the first decades of its existence and its establishment on the international scene are the world famous names of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, as well as a few other persons among which certainly for his importance and contribution belongs John Adams.

John Adams is one of the most famous and most appreciated American statesmen and diplomats. He is one of the seven “Founding Fathers of the United States of America”, initiator and signatory of the worthiest American document, “The Declaration of Independence” as well as the Constitution of the USA. He was the man who served as the first ever vice-president of the USA when the function of the president for the first time was executed by George Washington, only to be succeeded by Adams whose name will remain in the annals of history as the second president of the USA.

In the year 1783 John Adams served the then young American state as its “Commissioner to France”, “Minister Plenipotentiary to Holland”, and one of the “Commissioners (together with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay) for negotiating the Treaty of Peace”(after the War for Independence from the UK).
(Sparks, Jared ed. “Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution”, Vol. VII., 1830, p. 1)

From this time he had regular and very thorough correspondence with the other important persons for the American independence and statehood involving all details about his activity of defending the American interests in Europe. All of his, as well as the correspondence of the other important American diplomats and statesmen from this time is tidily archived in a multi-volume publication called “The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution” printed in the beginning of the XIX-th century.

In a passage of one of the letters preserved from this correspondence between John Adams and Robert Livingston from July 14, 1783 we can read the following:

The project of setting at liberty the whole country of ancient Greece, Macedonia, and Illyricum, and erecting independent Republics in those famous seats, however splendid it may appear in speculation, is not likely to be seriously entertained by the two Empires (meaning Austria and Russia), because it is impracticable. The Greeks of this day, although they are said to have imagination and ingenuity, are corrupted in their morals to such a degree, as to be a faithless, perfidious race, destitute of courage, as well as of those principles of honor and virtue, without which nations can have no confidence in one another, nor be trusted by others.”


John Adams passage about Macedonia, letter from July 14th, 1783

That is what John Adams penned down in his letter written in Paris and sent to Robert Livingston in the year 1783, and precisely on July 14th, the same day on which only 6 years after will begin one of the most important events in European, and for its later influence the World history–The French Revolution.

Robert Livingston is the man who will be remembered in the annals of history as the first ever Secretary of the State Department i.e. the chief of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the USA (the function presently executed by Madame Hillary Rodham Clinton).

The letter in its entirety isn’t concerned specifically with Macedonia or Greece, but rather it is an effort of the then young American diplomacy for the liberalization of commerce and opening of the water ways in Europe. In the short explanation given for each of the letters published in the cited publication the editor Jared Sparks for this particular letter from Adams to Livingston wrote the following:

Exclusive policy of the European powers in regard to commerce.–Views of Austria and Russia towards the Black Sea, the Danube, the Archipelago and Turkey.”

This is nicely explained by John Adams himself in the opening sentences of his letter to Livingston where he elaborates the American position vs. the positions of some of the European powers on these matters.

Sir,
The United States of America have propagated far and wide in Europe the ideas of the liberty of navigation and commerce. The powers of Europe, however, cannot agree, as yet, in adopting them in their full extent. Each one desires to maintain the exclusive dominion of some particular sea, or river, and yet to enjoy the liberty of navigating all others.”

In the continuation of the first passage that was quoted here where he separated Greece and Macedonia, John Adams wrote the following:
The project of conquering the Provinces of Albania, Romelia, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Little Tartary, from the Turks, and dividing them between the two Empires, may be more probable; but the Turks, in Asia and Europe together, are very powerful, and, if thoroughly awakened, might make a great resistance ; so that it is most probable, the two Imperial Courts would be content, if they could obtain by negotiation, or by arms, the free navigation of the Danube, Black Sea, and Archipelago (meaning the Aegean). This freedom alone would produce a great revolution in the commerce of Europe.”

As we can observe John Adams had exceptional knowledge of the circumstances and the conditions in Europe and the Balkans at that time. Historians know very well that the interests in particular of the Austrian (that later became Austria-Hungarian) and the Russian crowns as we can note since that time, and all throughout the XIX-th and the beginning of the XX-th centuries were the ones whose accordance, interlocking and direct opposition were the ones dictating the events and actions in the Balkans and the relationships of all nations and countries ruled by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and especially for Macedonia.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that John Adams, one of the “Founding Fathers of the USA”, and their second president, made a clear difference and distinction between Macedonia and Greece and advocated liberation from the Turkish rule and establishing independent Republics (read=Democracies) for both countries with American help. Under the appellation “Illyricum” he certainly meant the other countries of former Yugoslavia. History teaches us that his plan was partly fulfilled foremost by the efforts of the European phil-Hellenes who tirelessly helped Greece to be liberated from the Turkish rule, but didn’t allow it to form a Republic or a Democracy, instead they imposed a royal monarchy by installing as king a member of one of the European royal lineages. On the other hand, Macedonia instead of gaining its freedom, continued being enslaved for many years. And in the moments when with superhuman efforts uprisings were made and the fighting for freedom and independence was continued relying on own forces, and with no help from anyone (for which principle the suffering of the Macedonians was tremendous) Macedonia and the Macedonians in the Ilinden Uprising, and at ASNOM promoted exactly the Republican idea that John Adams supported.

The original manuscript of the letter is preserved in the National Archives of the USA.



Goce Pangovski

No comments: