Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History
Brian Kilmeade, Don Yaeger
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The paperback edition of the New York Times Bestseller. This is the little-known story of how a newly independent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America's third president decided to stand up to intimidation.
When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa routinely captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute far beyond what the new country could afford.
Jefferson found it impossible to negotiate with the leaders of the Barbary states, who believed their religion justified the plunder and enslavement of non-Muslims. These rogue states would show no mercy, so President Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy's new warships and a detachment of Marines to blockade Tripoli--launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America's journey toward future superpower status.
As they did in George Washington's Secret Six, Kilmeade and Yaeger have transformed a nearly forgotten slice of history into a dramatic story that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Among the many suspenseful episodes:
·Lieutenant Andrew Sterett's ferocious cannon battle on the high seas against the treacherous pirate ship Tripoli.
·Lieutenant Stephen Decatur's daring night raid of an enemy harbor, with the aim of destroying an American ship that had fallen into the pirates' hands.
·General William Eaton's 500-mile march from Egypt to the port of Derne, where the Marines launched a surprise attack and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.
years in residence, he was still horrified that the Barbary countries could demand tribute not only from his president (whom the dey called “the Prince of America”) but from the rest of the world, too. That European nations would tolerate the pirates’ interference in international waters of the Mediterranean was infuriating. In Eaton’s mind, this submission to tyrannical force was a blemish on American honor, but his orders were still for peace. WORDS OF WARNING Predictably, the Tunisians
Mediterranean—and within range of the Barbary pirates. According to Jefferson’s calculations, a quarter of New England’s most important export, dried salt cod, went to markets there, as did one sixth of the country’s grain exports. Rice and lumber were also important exports, and the merchant ships provided employment for more than a thousand seamen. The trade and employment were essential to the growing American economy, and John Adams thought the numbers could easily double if a diplomatic
his own castle, refused to see O’Brien and rejected the offer relayed to him out of hand. He was insulted by the offer; it was so much less than he had imagined, and he suspected the Americans’ real motive was espionage. Thinking O’Brien might be gathering intelligence about the city and its armaments, he refused permission for the American consul to enter the town and forbade him to meet with Captain Bainbridge or visit the other prisoners. He did not allow clothing to be sent ashore for the
Alexander. The Frigate Constitution and Other Historic Ships. New York: Dover Publications, 1987. Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and His Time. 6 vols. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1948–1981. Morris, Charles. The Autobiography of Commodore Charles Morris, U.S. Navy. Boston: A. Williams, 1880. Nash, Howard P. Jr. The Forgotten Wars: The Role of the U.S. Navy in the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars, 1798–1805. South Brunswick, NJ: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1968. Naval Documents Related to the
Gibraltar Grand Turk, 70, 76 Great Britain, 81 Adams as ambassador to, 9, 10 Egypt and, 174 and end of Revolution, 10 navy of, 66 tributes paid to Barbary states by, 8 in War of 1812, 200, 202, 205 Guerriere, 206 Hamilton, Alexander, 152, 156 Hashash, Alcady, 118 Hassan, dey of Algiers, 2, 21, 25, 26–28 Heermann, Lewis, 145 Hornet, 187–88 Hull, Isaac, 184–85 Intrepid, 140–49, 201 as floating bomb, 165–68 in map of Tripoli Harbor, 147 Islam, Muslims, 14–15, 37, 176 conversion