Comitia Americana Medals -- Diplomatic Medal

Diplomatic Medal

Copper Libertas Americana medal.

This medal is not strictly a part of the Comitia Americana series. It was, however, made at the Paris mint, during the same timeframe, by one of the same engravers, and was carried out under the watch of Thomas Jefferson as were many of the series. The Diplomatic Medal was born out of a sticky diplomatic situation. Jefferson had been serving as Minister to France from 1784 to 1790. At his retirement from the position (and the country), France presented him with a medal, the typical custom in Europe. The Constitution of the United States, however, forbade American officials from accepting gifts. This situation was only more stressful as the French minister to the United States, Marquis de La Luzerne, retired from his position in 1787 and had received no diplomatic recognition from the fledgling republic. The Diplomatic Medal seemed the appropriate solution as it both changed Jefferson’s accepting a medal from France into an exchange between dignitaries, and satisfied the European traditions of celebrating and thanking its foreign diplomats.