Thomas Jefferson And The Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History Book Review

This is a story of a fledgling new nation that did not have much of a budget and saddled with war debt, that was challenged by four Muslim powers in Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco,  The rulers had sustained their realms on the booty and ransom extracted from European and latter American merchant ships.

American merchant ships were swarmed by the Barbary pirates and the crew held captive, many remained captive for ten years under cruel conditions.  Negotiation and ransom payments were tried, which the young country could not afford.   The “Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and Tripoli” was signed in 1796, an attempt to appease the enemy.  It did not work.  The alternative was a war to stand up to intimidation and lawlessness.

Before Jefferson assumed office Congress would authorize the forming of a U.S. Navy.  Thomas Jefferson, our third president, decided to take on the Barbary powers in a war, something European powers chose not to do.  A new nation took on Muslim despots and pirates with a mixture of diplomacy enforced by naval forces.

The book begins in1785 when the American merchant ship the Dauphin was intercepted off the coast of Portugal by an Algerian ship.  The crew was captured and shipped to Algiers to spend years in slavery under the Ottomans.

Trek alongside William Eaton and an army of Marines, Navy midshipmen, Arabs, and Bedouins from Alexandria, across the Libyan Desert to Derne to Tripoli.  The first Marine hero was Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon the ‘hero of Derne’.  A well-known phrase in the opening lines of the Marines’ Hymn commemorates this time “the shores of Tripoli.”

Read about Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, the leadership of Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur and many more.  Learn of the fighting prowess of Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and other men.  From the victory in the Barbary Wars would emerge U. S. forces, sea and land, that could fight as a unit in a war far from home against an enemy.

An action-packed easy to read history that captures the times, diplomacy and politics that led up to the Barbary Wars and the triumphant aftermath.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger is available at Amazon.

University Of Virginia Students, Professors Ask School President – No More Thomas Jefferson Quotes

The day after the presidential election,  the president of the Thomas Jefferson founded University of Virginia sent an email that “encouraged students to unite in the wake of contentious results, arguing that University students have the responsibility of creating the future they want for themselves. encouraged students to unite in the wake of the election.”

University President Teresa Sullivan:
“Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,’” Sullivan said in the email. “I encourage today’s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.” CavalierDaily

One of Jefferson’s proudest accomplishments was the University of Virginia.

Jefferson asked that only three of his many accomplishments be engraved on his tombstone: Author of the Declaration of American Independence; Author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; and Father of the University of Virginia (he founded, designed, and directed the building of the university in 1819).  AmericasLibrary

Professors Triggered by Thomas Jefferson Quote

Several professors on Grounds collaborated to write a letter to University President Teresa Sullivan against the inclusion of a Thomas Jefferson quote in her post-election email Nov. 9.

“We would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it,” the letter read. “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”

The letter garnered 469 signatures — from both students and professors — before being sent out via email Nov. 11. Signees included Politics Prof. Nicholas Winter, Psychology Prof. Chad Dodson, Women, Gender and Sexuality Prof. Corinne Field, College Assistant Dean Shilpa Davé, Politics Prof. Lynn Sanders and many more. Asst. Psychology Prof. Noelle Hurd drafted the letter. CavalierDaily

University President Teresa Sullivan Response

Sullivan responded to the letter Monday afternoon, affirming her support for the freedom of University community members to express their opinions.

“I fully endorse their right to speak out on issues that matter to all of us, including the University’s complicated Jeffersonian legacy,” Sullivan said in a statement. “We remain true to our values and united in our respect for one another even as we engage in vigorous debate.”

Sullivan said quoting someone recognizes “the potency of that person’s words” and that she agrees with Jefferson’s message of University students helping to lead the country.

“Quoting Jefferson (or any historical figure) does not imply an endorsement of all the social structures and beliefs of his time,” she said.

Jefferson could not have anticipated the diversity of leaders the University would produce, Sullivan said.

“All of them belong at today’s U.Va., whose founder’s most influential and most quoted words were ‘…all men are created equal,’’ she said. “Those words were inherently contradictory in an era of slavery, but because of their power, they became the fundamental expression of a more genuine equality today.” CavalierDaily