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267 hits since 9 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0110 May 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

CONFLICT AND COOPERATION IN THE FIRST BARBARY WAR, 18011805

"This dissertation argues that when the United States went to war with Tripoli in 1801, its aims were threefold: (1) a peace settlement without tribute; (2) entrance and acceptance into the Mediterranean community; and (3) respect from the nations of the Mediterranean. The American navy found it difficult to wage war without land bases. Thousands of miles from home, the navy could not rely on supplies, information, and advice from the government back in the United States. Instead, the navy had to rely on the good graces of the Mediterranean nations, for everything from food to repairs, from commercial information to covert intelligence. Complicating relations in the Mediterranean was the signing of peace between Britain and France in 1802, and then the resumption of war in 1803. Alliances were quickly formed and quickly broken as the European continent convulsed in the Napoleonic Wars. As the Americans navigated the politics of the Mediterranean, they wanted to be seen as equal with the two great powers of the region, Britain and France.

Under Commodore Richard Dale, the first squadron was hamstrung by ineffective direction from the federal government. Dale had to work with the American consuls to forge connections that would make it possible for the squadron to operate. Dale's successor, Richard Valentine Morris, discovered that the Mediterranean customary system was more difficult to penetrate than he had expected; he also chose to prioritize peace with Tunis and Morocco over war with Tripoli. Under Edward Preble, the focus of the war shifted to Tripoli, where Preble practiced the most aggressive tactics of the war. Samuel Barron, the fourth commodore, struggled to capitalize on the strong position Preble left for him, but with the help of Consul Tobias Lear, the United States was able to negotiate peace in June 1805…"
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