Andrew Jackson on Diplomacy: How To Be Tactful

What You Say When You Want To Express Disappointment Diplomatically : How Andrew Jackson Did It
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Andrew Jackson is remembered as a man of violent passions, as prickly and always ready for a fight, not for his tact. But on one occasion, Jackson’s response was so skillful that it could serve as a template for anyone who has been disappointed by someone’s behavior and wants to express that disappointment diplomatically. 

Here’s the background.  In 1834, the French Chamber of Deputies began debate about paying the United States 25 million francs– about $5 million–as an indemnity for French damage to American shipping during the Napoleonic wars. France had already signed a treaty agreeing to pay, and the treaty had been confirmed by Congress.

Yet, after four days of deliberation. France declined to honor its obligation.

That decision infuriated Andrew Jackson, but he controlled his legendary temper, and told the French minister, “I have always loved France, and it would only be with the deepest sorrow that I would have to change my feelings.”

You can use Andrew Jackson’s words as a model in negotiation, arguments, and political debate. The basic idea is, please don’t cause me to do something that I really don’t want to do  Don’t change the good opinion that  I have of you.

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