April 26, 2012
Jefferson Sets Sail for U.S. Naval Power
Christopher Hitchens, Time
Within days of his March 1801 inauguration as the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson ordered a naval and military expedition to North Africa, without the authorization of Congress, to put down regimes involved in slavery and piracy. The war was the first in which the U.S. flag was carried and planted overseas; it saw the baptism by fire of the U.S. Marine Corps--whose anthem boasts of action on "the shores of Tripoli"--and it prefigured later struggles with both terrorism and jihad.
The Barbary States of North Africa--Algiers, Tunis, Morocco and Tripoli (today's Libya)--had for centuries sustained themselves by preying on the maritime commerce of others. Income was raised by direct theft, the extortion of bribes or "protection" and the capture of crews and...
TAGGED: Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Marines, Libya, pirates