You may think the rising tide of radical Islam is a relatively new thing, especially as it relates to America, but it is not.
by Gerard W. Gawalt
Gerard W. Gawalt is the manuscript specialist for early American history in the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
“The ruthless, supremely committed element of radical Islam we face today are not new to the United States of America.
More than two hundred years ago the newly established United States faced Muslim pirates that were the scourge of the Mediterranean Sea and a significant area of the North Atlantic. Their practice was to attack any and every ship and ransom the captives. Pirate ships and crews from the North African states of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers (the Barbary Coast) became the extortionists of the seas and presented a radically different threat to the young American nation.
“Before the United States obtained its independence in the American Revolution, 1775-83, American merchant ships and sailors had been protected from the ravages of the North African pirates by the naval and diplomatic power of Great Britain. British naval power and the tribute or subsidies Britain paid to the piratical states protected American vessels and crews. During the Revolution, the ships of the United States were protected by the 1778 alliance with France, which required the French nation to protect “American vessels and effects against all violence, insults, attacks, or depredations, on the part of the said Princes and States of Barbary or their subjects.”
“After the United States won its independence in the treaty of 1783, it had to protect its own commerce against dangers such as the Barbary pirates. As early as 1784 Congress followed the tradition of the European shipping powers and appropriated $80,000 as tribute to the Barbary states, directing its ministers in Europe, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to begin negotiations with them. Trouble began the next year, in July 1785, when Algerians captured two American ships and the dey of Algiers held their crews of twenty-one people for a ransom of nearly $60,000.” (Gawalt)
“How many know that perhaps 1.5 million Europeans and Americans were enslaved in Islamic North Africa between 1530 and 1780? We dimly recall that Miguel de Cervantes was briefly in the galleys. But what of the people of the town of Baltimore in Ireland, all carried off by “corsair” raiders in a single night?
Some of this activity was hostage trading and ransom farming rather than the more labor-intensive horror of the Atlantic trade and the Middle Passage, but it exerted a huge effect on the imagination of the time—and probably on no one more than on Thomas Jefferson. Peering at the paragraph denouncing the American slave trade in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, later excised, I [Christopher Hitchens] noticed for the first time that it sarcastically condemned “the Christian King of Great Britain” for engaging in “this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers.” The allusion to Barbary practice seemed inescapable.”(Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates)
“In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli’s ambassador to Great Britain to ask him by what right his nation attacked American ships and enslaved American citizens. He claimed that the right was founded on the laws of their prophet and that it was written in the Koran that all nations that didn’t acknowledge their authority were sinners, and that not only was it their right and duty to make war upon these sinners wherever they could be found, but to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim slain in battle was guaranteed a place in Paradise. Despite this stunning admission of pre-meditated violence on non-Muslim nations, as well as the objections of numerous notable Americans, including George Washington, who warned that caving in was both wrong and would only further embolden their enemy, the United States Congress continued to buy off the Barbary Muslims with bribes and ransom money.
“They paid Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers upwards of one million dollars a year over the next fifteen years, which by 1800 amounted to 20% of the United States annual revenues. Jefferson was disgusted. To add insult to injury, when he was sworn in as the third president of the United States in 1801, the pasha of Tripoli sent him a note demanding an immediate payment of $225,000 plus $25,000 a year thereafter. That was when everything changed!
Jefferson let the pasha know in no uncertain terms what he could do with his demand. The pasha responded by chopping down the flagpole in front of the US Consulate and declaring war on the United States. Tunis, Morocco and Algiers followed suit.” (The Last Patriot, by Brad Thor)
“Thomas Jefferson, United States minister to France, opposed the payment of tribute, as he later testified in words that have a particular resonance today. In his autobiography, Jefferson wrote that in 1785 and 1786 he unsuccessfully “endeavored to form an association of the powers subject to habitual depredation from them. I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation with their governments, articles of a special confederation.” Jefferson argued that “The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States to perpetual peace.” Jefferson prepared a detailed plan for the interested states. “Portugal, Naples, the two Sicilies, Venice, Malta, Denmark and Sweden were favorably disposed to such an association,” Jefferson remembered, but there were “apprehensions” that England and France would follow their own paths, “and so it fell through.”
“Paying the ransom would only lead to further demands, Jefferson argued in letters to future presidents John Adams, then America’s minister to Great Britain, and James Monroe, then a member of Congress. As Jefferson wrote to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter, “I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro’ the medium of war.” Paying tribute will merely invite more demands, and even if a coalition proves workable, the only solution is a strong navy that can reach the pirates, Jefferson argued in an August 18, 1786, letter to James Monroe: “The states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by some one of them. . . . Every national citizen must wish to see an effective instrument of coercion, and should fear to see it on any other element than the water. A naval force can never endanger our liberties, nor occasion bloodshed; a land force would do both.” “From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of their money,” Jefferson added in a December 26, 1786, letter to the president of Yale College, Ezra Stiles, “it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them.”
“Jefferson’s plan for an international coalition foundered on the shoals of indifference and a belief that it was cheaper to pay the tribute than fight a war. The United States’s relations with the Barbary states continued to revolve around negotiations for ransom of American ships and sailors and the payment of annual tributes or gifts. Even though Secretary of State Jefferson declared to Thomas Barclay, American consul to Morocco, in a May 13, 1791, letter of instructions for a new treaty with Morocco that it is “lastly our determination to prefer war in all cases to tribute under any form, and to any people whatever,” the United States continued to negotiate for cash settlements. In 1795 alone the United States was forced to pay nearly a million dollars in cash, naval stores, and a frigate to ransom 115 sailors from the dey of Algiers. Annual gifts were settled by treaty on Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli.
“When Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to accede to Tripoli’s demands for an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States. Although as secretary of state and vice president he had opposed developing an American navy capable of anything more than coastal defense, President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean. As he declared in his first annual message to Congress: “To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . .”
The American show of force quickly awed Tunis and Algiers into breaking their alliance with Tripoli. The humiliating loss of the frigate Philadelphia and the capture of her captain and crew in Tripoli in 1803, criticism from his political opponents, and even opposition within his own cabinet did not deter Jefferson from his chosen course during four years of war. The aggressive action of Commodore Edward Preble (1803-4) forced Morocco out of the fight and his five bombardments of Tripoli restored some order to the Mediterranean. However, it was not until 1805, when an American fleet under Commodore John Rogers and a land force raised by an American naval agent to the Barbary powers, Captain William Eaton, threatened to capture Tripoli and install the brother of Tripoli’s pasha on the throne, that a treaty brought an end to the hostilities. Negotiated by Tobias Lear, former secretary to President Washington and now consul general in Algiers, the treaty of 1805 still required the United States to pay a ransom of $60,000 for each of the sailors held by the dey of Algiers, and so it went without Senatorial consent until April 1806. Nevertheless, Jefferson was able to report in his sixth annual message to Congress in December 1806 that in addition to the successful completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition, “The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship.”
“In fact, it was not until the second war with Algiers, in 1815, that naval victories by Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur led to treaties ending all tribute payments by the United States. European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s. However, international piracy in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters declined during this time under pressure from the Euro-American nations, who no longer viewed pirate states as mere annoyances during peacetime and potential allies during war. MORE HERE
“Among the more intriguing stories, the USS Philadelphia, a 44-gun Navy frigate, ran aground off Tripoli in October 1803. The Tripolitans forced the captain and crew to surrender, and they used the Philadelphia for harbor defense against the Americans. On Feb. 16, 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur, using a captured Tripolitan boat, led a contingent of Marines to seize the Philadelphia and burn it. They also briefly captured Tripoli, but they didn’t recover the captain or crew. Decatur became the first military hero since the Revolution and became a commodore, who kicked more ass in the Second Barbary War in 1815. Tripoli was again captured, and the pirates surrendered in 1805. This is why the Marine Hymn has the phrase, “. . .to the shores of Tripoli.”
Thomas Jefferson understood the same thing Ronald Reagan understood … that the best position for negotiation is from a position of strength. He quickly realized that though he was pledged to “religious freedom,” the brand of Islam involved in this slave trade taught him Islam was not just a religion but a political system as well. The fact that President Obama continues to dismantle and understaff our military, and fail to give them a specific and clear “winnable” objective demonstrates either his lack of resolve OR his resolve to our destruction.
“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
President Thomas Jefferson
*NOTE: All notations to quoted text are done by blogsensebybarb for emphasis.
I Believe Freedom is Worth Fighting for!
This is a statement of “belief,” but only that. It is not yet a statement of faith. It accomplishes nothing. It is empty words. It says very little. It simply states Freedom is. It is non-committal… until some action is assigned to it!
“In a culture of gray where anything could be justified, rationalized, or spun to mean just the opposite,” most of us long somewhere deep inside us for black and white. Our American culture, however, has disintegrated into a culture of gray … neutral … politically correct. The noise of ideas, many and varied, bounces from one ethnicity to another, from one tradition to another stopping only momentarily at the current popular rebellion. Few ideas are held dear. Few beliefs are held onto securely.
I Believe Freedom is Worth Fighting for!
A statement of belief. It is an acknowledgement that in some sphere, some form Freedom exists. Nothing more, nothing less. Freedom is.
When I add that I believe freedom is worth fighting for, I add action, a little muscle to my belief, but it is still just an acknowledgement that freedom is worth fighting for. It is an ambiguous statement, non-committal. In other words, it could just as easily say, “I believe someone should fight for freedom.” If I change it to say, “I believe I should be willing to fight for freedom,” my statement has graduated to faith. It says freedom is important enough to me that I am willing to fight for it, and it becomes a “faith” statement. I’m willing to risk my money, my security, my family … something to secure FREEDOM. It not only states my belief that freedom is worth fighting for, but that I believe strongly enough that freedom exists, that I’m willing to put some additional muscle behind my belief.
Remember the old proverbial story about Everyone, Someone, Anyone, and No one? I’m adjusting it to fit my statement today.
There were once four brothers: Everyone, Someone, Anyone and No one. They were called upon to defend freedom. Everyone was sure that Someone would do it. Anyone could have done it, but No one did it in the end. Someone was angry because it should have been Everyone’s job. Everyone thought that Anyone could have done it, but No one realized that No one would have to do it in the end. In the end, Everyone was angry at Someone because No one did what Anyone could’ve done. Author unknown
I Believe Freedom is Worth Fighting for!
If we understand that nothing worthwhile in this life is free, then we understand that freedom, and anything else we value, comes at a cost. This seems to be where most Americans are struggling these days. We want the good life, but aren’t willing to work toward it. We want lots of “stuff,” but aren’t willing to save and work out a workable plan to obtain the “stuff” we want. We want to live “happily ever after,” but aren’t willing to work at our relationships. We want healthy, happy children, but aren’t willing to put time and effort into them to accomplish that end. The crying machine, otherwise known as OWS are the embodiment of spoiled children throwing tantrums, fussing about “unfairness” but unwilling to commit themselves to a path that would alleviate their undesirable circumstances. Money and material goods are not necessarily the definition of success … or are they? Are you seeing the pattern?
“Up until the 1950’s, American children yearned for adulthood. When their time came to be adults, they stepped into the role proudly, leaving childhood behind and taking up the mantles of responsibility, honor, and dignity. They embraced and championed the ideals of those who came before them while valiantly tackling new ideas and problems that their families, communities, and nation faced…Americans now shun adulthood preferring to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence. By failing to move forward with grace and dignity, they leave a gaping hole in American society. They treat relationships like disposable lighters, tossing marriages away when they run out of gas. Children are left without families, and even worse, they are left without adults as role models of responsible behavior. With this lack of willingness to step forward and embrace adulthood, the nation has lost sight of its core values and ideals. In its place has morphed an ‘every man and woman for himself’ mentality in which materialism is placed before spirituality and submission to God.”
(Quoted from The Last Patriot, a novel by Brad Thor)
Ideas and beliefs are covered with words, but until energy is added to the words, they are empty and powerless in our pursuit of happiness. Instead, we hold onto our weaknesses as though they could put money in the bank or food on our tables. When our “belief” statements become statements of faith, ACTION is the result. This is where the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is,” came from. Don’t just SAY you believe, SHOW it … DO something to defend your belief. That is faith.
With the onset of World War II, numerous challenges confronted the American people. The government found it necessary to ration food, gas, and even clothing during that time. Americans were asked to conserve on everything. With not a single person unaffected by the war, rationing meant sacrifices for all.
The American public was willing to contribute to the War effort in whatever ways they were able, but they helped! They adjusted. They GAVE. They helped one another. Today, we have become a nation of TAKERS, not givers. When President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,” it was not a rhetorical question. It was a mentality … a statement of values that no longer lives in America much to our detriment.
I “believe” the seeds of that giving attitude lay dormant still in most of us, but they are useless unless activated in love for something bigger than we are. This is the motivation behind my writing. It calls me from my bed each day, and fills me with purpose as I go about my daily life. I BELIEVE! I Believe in the American Spirit of self-reliance and compassion. I believe in the American people, descendents of legal immigrants who came for a new, more hopeful start. I believe that even though some seek to divide us, we are still One People of many backgrounds, many faiths, many creeds and cultures, but still One People. I also believe our national identity has been confused in a quagmire of pseudo-intelligent thought.
I Believe Freedom is Worth Fighting for!
But faith is not the end of the journey. Faith can grow into the the powerful muscle of Conviction. When one holds something so dear it becomes a “conviction,” that idea or belief has grown to preeminence.
And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection
of Divine Providence,
we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,
our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
The Declaration of Independence
At the risk of heresy, I admit some degree of admiration for the radical Islamists willing to die for their faith. I may believe they are in devastating error, but nevertheless, they have committed their lives to what they believe, and that is admirable. It causes me to ask myself if I am willing to die for what I hold true and dear. I do not see many today willing to die for … anything! If we aren’t willing to die for it, we aren’t willing to live for it either!
The place beyond faith, where faith takes preeminence in one’s life is where faith becomes conviction. We can hold multiple convictionary beliefs, but our life must demonstrate our conviction. It will not depend on a T-shirt identification! Belief + Action = Faith + Personal Sacrifice = Conviction!
IS FREEDOM WORTH FIGHTING FOR?Today, you and I have to decide if we will make the transition to adulthood, assume the responsibilities that come with adulthood and put our lives on the line for what we hold dear … or not. Currently, it looks like we are not willing to really “BELIEVE” what we want can actually happen in America. It looks like we are admitting defeat, and surrendering to it. It looks like most Americans have surrendered to the manipulation of the liberal left and embraced the doctrines of “fairness.” in exchange for personal freedom and responsibility. It looks like we’re just way too comfortable to be concerned with all the crazy notions of socialist policy, radical Islamic factions wanting to exchange our Constitution of Sharia Law, with outrageous inflation and job loss. Just too busy being adult children.
IS FREEDOM WORTH FIGHTING FOR?
What are YOU & I willing to pay for our Personal Freedom?
In 1916, Rev. William John Henry Boetcker developed a list entitled Seven National Crimes, possibly patterned after the Seven Deadly Sins, that if committed would inevitably lead to the end of everything the United States was built to be:
- I don’t think.
- I don’t know.
- I don’t care.
- I’m too busy.
- I leave well enough alone.
- I have no time to read and find out.
- I am not interested.
“Never mind what others do,” Boetcker said. “Do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day, and you are a success.” With the all-important 2012 election in progress, we cannot rest for a moment. We must take Boetcker’s tried and true aphorisms to heart and act. Act out of love, out of gratitude, out of concern for future generations … but ACT!
This week’s entry for Inspiration Monday, sponsored and strictly monitored (NOT!) by BEKINDREWRITE! Thanks, friend!