To the shores of Tripoli

America’s current military involvement in Libya is not its first. American adventurism abroad gained a foothold during the Jefferson administration when American shipping interests in the Mediterranean were being harassed by pirates from the Barbary States. After Independence, the U.S. had been paying protection money to the various Barbary States. In 1801, the pasha of Tripoli declared war when Jefferson wouldn’t meet the new demand of a one-time payment of $225,000 plus an annual payment of $25,000 a year. Although America’s navy was small at the time, Jefferson sent a contingent of ships with Marines who forced the pasha to reconsider his approach to the fledgling country’s naval vessels.


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