Should our political leaders avoid war at all costs?… Or are there times when war is simply inevitable?
James Madison was sworn in March, 1809… and the clouds of war were darker than ever. Both England and France were openly violating American neutrality and their actions left little to interpretation- acts of war.
Madison’s critics argued that he was predisposed to war with England… while a war with France was every bit as justified. Napoleon’s foreign policy was pragmatic, if unpredictable; the British were singing the same old tune, and President Madison was tired of hearing it.
British Minister Francis J. Jackson left little doubt his feelings about the new American President… Madison was a “plain and rather mean -looking little man, of great simplicity of manners and an inveterate enemy to form and ceremony..”
Falling to the charms of Mrs. Madison, Jackson quickly realized that Madison meant business. Madison warned his adversary of his impatience with double-talk, “You cannot but be sensible that a perseverance under such circumstances in a system which cannot longer be explained by its avowed object would force an explanation by some object not avowed…”
After three weeks of pleasantries and fruitless talks… Jackson wrote to his government, “Madison is now as obstinate as a mule..”