Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror 1801–1805
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Author Joseph Wheelan has marvelously captured the story of America’s war against the Barbary pirates, our first war against terror and the nations that support it. The Barbary pirates, a Muslim enemy from Tripoli, attacked European and American merchant shipping with impunity. Jefferson ordered the U.S. Navy to Tripoli in 1801 to repel "force with force." The Barbary War was also a proving ground for such young officers as William Bainbridge, Stephen Decatur, Isaac Hull, and David Porter key players in the impending War of 1812 against Great Britain.
we drop them ... into the hands of this enemy for no other crime but too much confidence in us!” Hamet, he noted glumly, “falls from the most flattering prospects of a Kingdom to beggary!” Eaton’s mission was ended. With little of the rancor that would consume him later, he reported to Rodgers: “Our peace with Tripoli is certainly more favorable—and, seperately considered, more honorable than any peace obtained by any Christian nation with a Barbary regency at any period within a hundred years:
frigates, brigs, and schooners, and the eight gunboats and two new bomb vessels that had joined the squadron in 1805 were ordered to sail home—all but the Constitution, Siren, and Enterprise. The Tripolitan war had cost just $3.6 million, but Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, who kept an iron grip on the federal purse strings, was still harping on Republican frugality, although Jefferson no longer was. For nine straight years, Gallatin diligently cut the federal debt each year by $2 million to
officers found him guilty of negligence of duty and suspended him from the naval service for five years. Captain Edward Preble died on August 25, 1807, in the city of his birth, Portland, Maine, ten days after his forty-sixth birthday. Preble’s shaky health had collapsed during a recurrence of the ulcers and assorted stomach ailments that had prevented him from sailing with the first two Mediterranean squadrons. The naval establishment and the nation mourned his death. The burning of the
up fights between Republicans and Federalists. The successful Federalist blitz proved to be a Pyrrhic victory; the backlash splintered the party and in 1800 cost the party the White House and control of Congress. It would never regain either. The Lesser Antilles parenthetically close off the eastern Caribbean against the Atlantic in a sweeping curve from Puerto Rico to Venezuela. These tiny islands were the West’s trading crossroad, where the raw goods of the Americas found their way into
war to congeal into icy frustration. Since 1784, he had longed to show Europe and Barbary that America was different, that it wouldn’t bow to the haughty deys, beys, bashaws, and emperors, or tremble before their ragtag corsairs. For twenty years, he had wanted to chastise their insolence. After two years of war, he was no nearer that goal than when Commodore Dale had left the Virginia Capes in June 1801. The Mediterranean squadron convoyed; it did not fight. Jefferson was hearing that the