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Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service
DoS Thomas Jefferson Star Medal Set drawing.jpg
Awarded by United States Department of State
Type Medal
Eligibility Foreign Service, Civil Service
Awarded for "Death or a serious illness or injury that results in death, permanent incapacity or disability"
Status Currently awarded
Next (higher) Award for Heroism
Award for Valor (obsolete)
Next (lower) Distinguished Honor Award
USA - DOS Thomas Jefferson.png


The Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service is an award of the United States Department of State. It is presented to employees of State, USAID, and civilian contractors assigned to diplomatic and consular facilities for events that lead to death or serious illness or injury.[1] It is roughly comparable to the U.S. military's Purple Heart, but since the criteria for the award is so strict, nearly all of them are awarded posthumously.

The award consists of a gold medal set and a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and the President of the United States.

The initial regulations limited the issuance of the Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service, originally known as the Foreign Service Star, only to members of the U.S. Foreign Service personnel system who were killed or seriously injured. The rules were later changed to allow for members of other personnel systems killed while working on behalf of a foreign affairs agency.

There had been controversy about the name of the award, which suggested that only diplomats serving under the Foreign Service personnel system were eligible. As a result, Secretary of State Colin Powell proposed changing the name of the award from the Foreign Service Star to simply the Thomas Jefferson Star, naming it for the Founding Father who served as the first Secretary of State. The American Foreign Service Association and the Foreign Affairs Council resisted the proposal while many others strongly supported it. In the end, the words "Foreign Service" were maintained as part of the name.[2]

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CCUS 26: The Gilded Age Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse U.S. history, and today we’re going to continue our look at the Gilded Age by focusing on political science. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, so it’s another history class where we don’t actually talk about history? Oh, Me From the Past, your insistence on trying to place academic exploration into little boxes creates a little box that you yourself will live in for the rest of your life if you don’t put your interdisciplinary party hat on. So the Gilded Age takes its name from a book by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner that was called The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. It was published in 1873 and it was not that successful, but while The Gilded Age conjures up visions of fancy parties and ostentatious displays of wealth, the book itself was about politics, and it gives a very negative appraisal of the state of American democracy at the time. Which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise coming from Twain, whose comments about Congress included, “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” And also, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly Native American criminal class except Congress.” So when faced with the significant changes taking place in the American economy after the Civil War, America’s political system both nationally and locally dealt with these problems in the best way possible: by becoming incredibly corrupt. intro Stan says I have to take off my party hat. Rrrr rrrr rrrrr.... So House Speaker Tip O’Neill once famously said that all politics is local and although that’s not actually true, I am going to start with local politics today, specifically with one of America’s greatest inventions, the urban political machine. So a political machine is basically an organization that works to win elections so that it can exercise power. The most famous political machine was New York City’s Tammany Hall, which dominated Democratic party politics in the late 19th century, survived until the 20th, and is keenly associated with corruption. Oh, it’s already time for the Mystery Document? This is highly unorthodox, Stan. Well, the rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. I’m usually wrong and I get shocked with the shock pen. Alright, let’s see what we’ve got here. “My party’s in power in the city, and it’s going to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I’m tipped off, say, that they’re going to lay out a new park at a certain place and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before. Ain’t it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight. Of course it is. That’s honest graft.” Stan, I know this one. It’s about machine politics. It’s from New York. It doesn’t say it’s from New York, but it is because it is George Plunkitt. Yes! How do you like them apples? Oh, you wanna know the name of the book? It’s “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.” Stan, transition me back to the desk with a Libertage, please. Plunkitt became famous for writing a book describing the way that New York City’s government actually worked, but he was a small fish compared with the most famous shark-like machine politician of the day, William “Boss” Tweed, seen here with a head made of money. “Boss” Tweed basically ran New York in the late 1860s and early 1870s, and his greatest feat of swindling helps explain how the machine system worked. It revolved around the then-new County Courthouse that now houses the New York City Department of Education. Building the courthouse was initially estimated to cost around $250,000, but ended up costing $13 million by the time it was finished in 1871. Included in that cost was a bill of $180,000 for three tables and forty chairs, $1.5 million for lighting fixtures, and $41,000 for brooms and cleaning supplies. A plasterer received $500,000 for his initial job and then $1 million to repair his shoddy work. The standard kickback in these situations was that Tammany Hall received two dollars for every one dollar received by the contractor. That may seem like a bad deal for contractors, but remember: That plasterer still got to keep half a million dollars, which is worth about $9 million in today’s money. Now of course that makes it sound like political machines were pure evil, especially if you were a taxpayer footing the bill for that courthouse. But machines also provided valuable services to immigrants and other poor people in cities. As Plunkitt explained, Tammany could help families in need: “I don’t ask whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and I don’t refer them to the Charity Organization Society, which would investigate their case in a month or two and decide they were worthy of help about the time they are dead from starvation. I just get quarters for them, buy clothes for them if their clothes were burned up, and fix them up until they get things running again.” In return for this help, Tammany expected votes so that they could stay in power. Staying in power meant control of city jobs as well as city contracts. Plunkitt claimed to know “every big employer in the district – and in the whole city, for that matter --- and they ain’t in the habit of saying no to me when I ask them for a job.” But with all the corruption, sometimes even that wasn’t enough. Fortunately Tammany politicians could always fall back on fraud. Tammany found bearded men to vote, then took them to the barber to shave off the beard, but left the moustache, so that they could vote a second time. And then, they would shave off the ‘stache so they could vote for a third. And then of course, there was always violence and intimidation. By the end of the century a Tammany regular lamented the good old days when, “It was wonderful to see my men slug the opposition to preserve the sanctity of the ballot.” But, corruption wasn’t limited to big cities like New York and Chicago. Some of the biggest boondoggles involved the United States Congress and the executive branch under president Ulysses Grant. The first big scandal, dubbed the “King of Frauds” by the New York Sun, involved Credit Mobilier, the construction company that did most of the road building for the Union Pacific Railroad. This two pronged accusation involved, first: overcharging the public for construction costs and siphoning off profits to Credit Mobilier, and second: bribery of Congressmen. Now, this second charge was, of course, much juicier and also more partisan because only Republican congressmen, including the Speaker of the House, were implicated in it. Eventually Massachusetts Congressman Oakes Ames was found guilty of giving bribes, but no one was ever found guilty of receiving those bribes. As you can imagine, that did wonders for the reputation of Congress. The second major scandal involved the so-called Whiskey Ring, which was a group of distillers in St. Louis who decided that they didn’t like paying excise taxes on their product, perhaps a slightly more noble cause than that of the 2009 Bling Ring, who just wanted to dress like Paris Hilton. John McDonald, a Grant administration official, helped distillers reduce their taxes by intentionally undercounting the number of kegs of booze. But then in 1875, the tax evasion grew out of control. And McDonald eventually confessed and was convicted, thereby tainting the presidency with corruption just as Credit Mobilier had tainted Congress. That leaves the Supreme Court untainted, but don’t worry, the Dred Scott decision is worth at least, like, eighty years of tainting. So with all this distrust in government, after Grant served two terms, presidential elections featured a series of one-termers: Hayes, Garfield (whose term was filled out by Chester Arthur after Garfield was assassinated), Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and then Cleveland again. McKinley, who was elected twice, but then he was assassinated. As for their parties, Gilded Age Republicans favored high tariffs, low government spending, paying off national debt and reducing the amount of paper money – or greenbacks – in circulation. Democrats opposed the tariffs and were often linked to New York bankers and financiers. In short, both parties were pro-business, but they were pro-different-businesses. Despite that and the widespread corruption, some national reform legislation actually did get passed in the Gilded Age. The Civil Service Act of 1883 – prompted by Garfield’s assassination by a disgruntled office seeker – created a merit system for 10% of federal employees, who were chosen by competitive examination rather than political favoritism. But, this had an unintended effect. It made American politicians much more dependent on donations from big business rather than small donations from grateful political appointees, but, you know, nice idea. And then in 1890 the Sherman Anti-Trust act forbade combinations and practices that restrained trade, but again it was almost impossible to enforce this against the monopolies like U.S. Steel. More often it was used against labor unions, which were seen to restrain trade in their radical lobbying for, like, health insurance and hard hats. But all in all the national Congress was pretty dysfunctional at the end of the 19th century, stop me if that sounds familiar. So state governments expanded their responsibility for public health and welfare. Cities invested in public works, like transportation, and gas, and later, electricity, and the movement to provide public education continued. Some northern states even passed laws limiting the workday to 8 hours. “What is this, France?” is what courts would often say when striking those laws down. Reform legislation was less developed in the South, but they were busy rolling back reconstruction and creating laws that limited the civil rights of African Americans, known as Jim Crow Laws. In the west, farmers became politically motivated over the issue of freight rates. Wait, are we talking about railroads? Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. In the 1870s, farmers formed the Grange movement to put pressure on state governments to establish fair railroad rates and warehouse charges. Railroads in particular tended to be pretty monopolistic: They owned the track going through town, after all, so it was hard for farmers to negotiate fair shipping prices. The Grange Movement eventually became the Farmer’s Alliance movement, which also pushed for economic cooperation to raise prices, but was split into Northern and Southern wings that could never really get it together. The biggest idea to come out of the Farmers Alliance was the subtreasury plan. Under this plan, farmers would store grain in government warehouses and get low-rate government loans to buy seed and equipment, using the stored grain as collateral. This would allow farmers to bypass the banks who increasingly came to be seen, along with the railroads, as the source of all the farmers’ troubles. Eventually these politically motivated farmers and their supporters grew into a political party, the People’s Party or Populists. In 1892 they held a convention in Omaha and put forth a remarkably reform minded plan, particularly given that this was put forth in Omaha, which included: The Sub-Treasury Plan, (which didn’t exactly happen, although the deal farmers ended up with was probably better for them) Government Ownership of Railroads (which sort of happened, if you count Amtrak) Graduated Income Tax (which did happen, after the passage of the 16th amendment) Government Control of the Currency (which happened with the creation of the Federal Reserve System) Recognition of the Rights of Laborers to Form Unions (which happened both at the state and federal level) and Free Coinage of Silver to produce more money, which we’ll get to in a second The People’s Party attempted to appeal to a broad coalition of “producing classes” especially miners and industrial workers, and it was particularly successful with those groups in Colorado and Idaho. As the preamble to the party platform put it: “Corruption dominates the ballot box, the Legislatures, the congress and touches even the ermine of the bench … From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes – tramps and millionaires.” Thanks, Thought Bubble. So, some western states were so Populist, they even granted women the right to vote in the 1890s, which added tremendously to the Populist’s electoral power. But most American voters stuck with the two main parties. Industrial workers never really joined in large numbers because the Populist calls for free coinage of silver would lead to inflation, especially in food prices, and that would hurt urban laborers. But if it hadn’t been for that threat of silver inflation, we might have three major political parties in the U.S. today. Or at least two different ones. Stupid inflation, always ruining everything. Populist leaders also struggled to unify because racism. Some Populist leaders, like Tom Watson, argued that black and white poor farmers were in the same boat, but Southern populists were not inclined to take up the fight against segregation, and even Watson himself later began spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric. But, in the halcyon Populist days of 1892, their presidential candidate, James Weaver, gained 1 million votes as a third party candidate. He carried 5 western states and got 22 electoral votes, which is better than Mondale did. But the best known Populist candidate was actually the Democratic nominee for president in 1896, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan, who once spoke of America as being crucified on a cross of gold, firmly supported free coinage of silver in the hopes that increasing the amount of money in circulation would raise prices for farmers and make it easier for people to pay off their debts. Williams Jennings Bryan is probably better known for the anti-evolution stance he took in the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial,” where he was up against none other than Clarence Darrow. But he did almost become president. So, the Populists were really wary of Bryan as a Democrat, because they feared that their ideas would be reduced to simply “free silver,” but they voted for him anyway. But Bryan still lost the 1896 election to William McKinley in what has become known as the first modern political campaign, because the business classes gave McKinley’s campaign an unprecedented $10 million. Which these days will buy you nine ads in Iowa. But back then, it won you an entire presidential election. He won the electoral college in a landslide 271-176. Bryan’s defeat in 1896 effectively put an end to the Populist Party. The corruption in government, both federal and local, continued, and new journalists called Muckrakers began exposing it in the press. Even though they were defeated at the polls, Populist ideas, especially direct election of senators and a progressive income tax, quickly became mainstream. Now, these days we don’t necessarily associate those ideas with Populists, which suggests that maybe they were right to worry about hitching their wagon to Bryan’s star. But in the end, would you rather have your name survive or see your ideas enacted? But of course many of the problems that the Populists were concerned with persisted, as did the scourge of Jim Crow. We’ll discuss those next week when we look at the Progressive Era. Thanks for watching. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, Rosianna Rojas, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Okay, I’ll make the transition, but I think you’ll want to keep filming this. Every week there’s a new caption for the Libertage. If you’d like to suggest one in comments, you can do so where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thank you for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. Gilded Age Politics -



Any civilian employee of any agency, including Foreign Service Nationals (appointed under Section 303 of the Foreign Service Act), non-family member U.S. citizen employees hired at post (appointed under Section 303 and appointed under Section 311 (a) of the Foreign Service Act), and U.S. citizens and foreign nationals serving under a Personal Services Contract or Personal Services Agreement (if eligibility for the award is authorized in their contracts), are eligible for the Foreign Service Star Award as long as the employee is:

(1) Under the administrative direction of State or USAID;
(2) Employed at, or assigned permanently or temporarily to an official mission abroad, or while traveling abroad on official business; and
(3) Killed or incurs a serious illness or injury which requires hospitalization or similar treatment and which results in incapacity or disability that prevents the employee from performing his or her official duties or adversely affects his or her ability to obtain medical clearance, while the employee:
(a) Is performing official duties;
(b) Is located on the premises of a U.S. mission abroad; or alternatively,
(c) By reason of the individual's status as U.S. Government employee.


a. Selection of award recipients will be based on:

(1) The nexus between the death, illness or injury and the act of serving abroad in an official capacity. The death, illness or injury must be linked to the official duties of the employee. This may be by reason of location at the U.S. mission, by reason of the employee's status as a U.S. Government official, or by reason of the fact that the employee is performing, or en-route to perform official duties; and
(2) The seriousness of the illness or injury. An illness or injury is "serious" if it requires hospitalization or similar treatment and results in incapacity or disability that prevents the employee from performing his other official duties or adversely affects his or her ability to obtain medical clearance.

b. Examples of employees meeting the selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

(1) The United States as the target of hostile action:
(a) Mission as target while performing official duty, hostile fire kills or wounds a U.S. civilian employee who is accompanying U.S. peacekeepers abroad;
(b) Employee as target, but not while on official duty, a commercial airliner flying abroad is hijacked and an employee, by reason of his or her status as a U.S. Government official, is subjected to mistreatment resulting in death, injury or serious illness.
(2) Accidents occurring in a hostile environment or crisis situation:
(a) Employee is killed or wounded by "friendly fire" launched to counter or respond to hostile action.
(b) Employee is killed or wounded in an automobile or airplane accident caused by a hostile action or crisis situation.
(c) Employee is killed or wounded by a land mine, trap, bomb or chemical/biological agent, even if not targeted at the employee or the United States.
(3) Natural disasters linked to service:
(a) Employee is killed or wounded while away from the mission, but while performing official duties, e.g., an earthquake abroad causes a building to collapse, killing several employees who are negotiating an arms control treaty; or
(b) Employee is killed or injured at the mission, e.g., a flood strikes a U.S. Embassy compound, killing and injuring dozens of employees.
(4) Nothing in this Foreign Affairs Manual shall limit the discretion of the Secretary to recommend the Foreign Service Star Award for an otherwise eligible and deserving employee.

Nominating and approval procedures

Nominations for the Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service must be initiated by the Chief of Mission or by an assistant secretary, cleared by the Medical Director, as appropriate, and then submitted to the Department Awards Committee for review and recommendation to the Secretary. The Secretary shall make final recommendations to the President.

Effective date

The effective date for the Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service shall be August 7, 1998.

An employee or surviving next of kin may petition the Department Awards Committee to consider individuals who are eligible and deserving of the Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service notwithstanding the fact that the illness, injury or death occurred prior to the effective date.

Military use

Active duty military are not eligible to receive this award.


See also


  1. ^ "3 FAM 4825 Thomas Jefferson Star for Foreign Service". US Department of State. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 13 Dec 2015.
  2. ^ [author missing] (March 6, 2001). "Powell May Reverse Hard Times". Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  3. ^ "2010 Public Health Preparedness Report". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 12, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Rubin, Alissa J.; Al-Husaini, Mudhafer (June 25, 2008). "Baghdad Blast Kills Four Americans". New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "Kellie Lartigue-Ndiaye '88 Receives Thomas Jefferson Star Award". Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  7. ^ a b (Press release). United States Agency for International Development. 2006 Archived from the original on September 7, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b "U.S. Department of State Awards". Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  9. ^ "Converse Honored for Iraq Service". Corvallis Gazette-Times. May 16, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "Honored for Protecting the Embassy". Hurriyet. Mar 2, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  11. ^ "The Amazing Life of Sean Smith, the Masterful Eve Gamer Slain in Libya". Gawker Media. April 25, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^

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