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    Thomas Jefferson Foreign Service Act Signed "Th: Jefferson" as Secretary of State. One printed page, 8.75" x 15", circa July 1, 1790. A true copy of "An ACT providing the Means of Intercourse between the United States and foreign Nations", put forth at the second session of Congress, begun and held in New York on January 4, 1790. The act, which had been initiated by Jefferson, created specifications for salaries paid to officials who represented the United States abroad, and was the first legislation to provide such systems for the new country's foreign affairs policies. The passage of the Act was controversial, as many believed that money spent on diplomacy abroad was wasteful and would be better spent in building foundations for the newly independent United States. Jefferson pushed for Foreign Service, as he had both seen its benefit during the war, and he was astute enough to recognize that growing tensions in Europe could lead to future political and economic entanglements for the U.S. in the near future. There were rumors that Britain might capture Louisiana and Florida from the Spanish, which would lead to the U.S. being surrounded by both the British army and Navy.

    It was due to this, that in early 1790, the Foreign Service Act was put forth for approval in Congress. It reads, in part: "That the President of the United States shall be, and he hereby is authorized to draw from the treasury of the United States, a sum not exceeding forty thousand dollars annually, to be paid out of the monies arising from the duties on imports and tonnage, for the support of such persons as he shall commission to serve the United States in foreign parts, and for the expence [sic] incident to the business in which they may be employed..." The Act was later approved and signed into law by President George Washington on July 1, 1790. Boldly signed by Jefferson at the lower half.

    Condition: Light uneven toning and minor foxing throughout, with flattened folds. There is ink transference from Jefferson's signature at the upper margin where the document was folded. Two small archival mounting strips of tape are present at the top of the document on verso. There is a faint imprint of a circular embossed stamp under Jefferson's signature. Overall very good.

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