Jefferson, the Barbary War, and 9/11: Analyzing Constitutional Principles and Evaluating how America Goes to War

Lesson Plan

Title:  Jefferson, the Barbary War, and 9/11: Analyzing Constitutional Principles and Evaluating how America Goes to War.

Descriptive Subtitle:

The Barbary War has often been overlooked in the study of American history, but there were significant precedents established by the decision made to take America into it’s first foreign war. In this lesson students will examine the decision to engage in the Barbary War and assess if Thomas Jefferson acted within the powers appointed to him as commander in chief, and then evaluate the impact of these actions on America’s response to the 9/11 attacks. The goal for students to see how both wars were started without necessarily following the procedures laid out in the constitution. No formal declaration of war was made in either case, but both lasted for several years while primarily being directed by the executive with little congressional oversight which contradicts the intent of the Constitution.

Grade Level: High School (9-12) U.S. History or Government 

Author Information: 

Name: Jeff Carter
School: Central High School
City: St. Joseph
State: Missouri

Duration: 60 min

Standards: Advanced Placement United States History Curriculum Framework

Key Concept 3.2 III B: Political leaders in the 1790s took a variety of positions on issues such as the relationship between the national government and the states, economic policy, foreign policy, and the balance between liberty and order. This led to the formation of political parties—most significantly the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Key Concept 4.1 I A: In the early 1800s, national political parties continued to debate issues such as the tariff, powers of the federal government, and relations with European powers.


Students will examine the entry of the United States into the Barbary Wars and compare it to the American response to 9/11 and the War on terror. Students will assess if the actions of the executive and legislative branch are line with the principles established by the U.S. Constitution. 

Students will be analyzing primary source documents to determine factual information, context, make connections, and determine the significance. 


During this lesson the students will be using the following learning strategies: (more specific instructions can be found within the lesson plan)

Think, Pair, Share

·        Students will create an individual response to a prompt, then share their response with a partner, and then conclude with a whole group discussion of the prompt

FACT Method for primary source analysis

·        Students will complete a graphic organizer to analyze a primary source document using the FACT Method organizer: F – Find the Facts, A – Add the history, C – Connect the information to relevant content, T – Tell the significance of the topic. More specific instructions can be found on the graphic organizer document located at the end of this document

Exit Ticket

·        Student learning and understanding will be assessed at the end of the lesson when students respond to a writing prompt that measures if the learning objective has been mastered.

This lesson fits within the framework of the AP U.S. History Course Framework, which is typically offered to juniors in high school. The standards that are focused upon center around the development of debates about interpreting the war powers of the constitution. At this point the the constitution has been adopted and the challenge facing the leaders of the young nation was to determine the meaning of the constitution and how to apply those interpretations to the inevitable crises that develop. This lesson could be easily adopted to fit within an AP Government/Government course when examining the powers of the executive branch or the president’s role as commander in chief of the military.

Prior knowledge:

By this point in the school year students will have previously studied the development of the United States Constitution, and the early implementation and development of federal power under Presidents Washington and Adams. Prior to the lesson students will have been expected to have taken Cornell notes over an article about the Barbary War that is available on the website (and also located at the end of this document). This background will allow students to have the context to analyze the circumstances surrounding the Barbary War.

Lesson Plan Steps:

1. Students will read the article about the Barbary Wars located at the website prior to the lesson as a homework assignment This will provide the students with the context necessary to examine the issues created by the Barbary War. Students will be required to complete Cornell notes of the reading prior to the lesson. (Completed outside of the classroom, 15-20 minutes to complete homework assignment)

2. Anticipatory Set: Students will be introduced to the subject by first watching George W. Bush’s address to the nation on the evening of the 9/11 attacks. The class will be asked to think, pair, share about the possible connections between 9/11 and the Barbary War. Students will craft their own thoughts independently, and then share those ideas with a partner in small group conversations. The small group discussion will then transition into a whole class discussion about the potential connections between the two events. Student responses may be recorded on chart paper or a white board. (10-15 minutes)

3. The instructor will then direct students towards an examination of the U.S. Constitution and powers relating to the declaration of war. The students will then examine Article 1 Section 8 10-14, and Article 2 Section 2 1-2 of the Constitution. The class as a whole will read through these sections of the constitution together and highlight the powers associated with declaring war. The purpose would be to establish the procedures for deciding if the nation should be taken to war. (10 minutes)

4. At this point we will connect these constitutional principles to the use of military force for the first time in a foreign nation. The students will be introduced to the text from Thomas Jefferson first state of the union address in which he reports on the status of the Barbary War. Students will analyze the document using the FACT method graphic organizer. Instructions for how use the graphic organizer are located within the document. (15-20 minutes)

5. After completing the graphic organizer, we will conclude the lesson with a discussion of Jefferson’s actions during the Barbary War and assess if he conducted it within the powers granted him by the Constitution. Finally, to assess student learning they will be given an exit ticket prompt in which they will craft their own argument about what steps should be taken before the United States enters into war. (10-15 minutes)


The First Barbary War – An Article from the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia located at


            Full text available at the end of this document as well

Video of George W. Bush’s address to the nation on the evening of the 9/11 attacks


            Full text available at the end of this document as well

All of these additional documents are located at the end of this lesson plan:

Think, Pair, Share writing prompt for the George W. Bush video

U.S. Constitution excerpts detailing war powers of the Legislative and Executive Branch

Thomas Jefferson’s First State of the Union Address

FACT Method Graphic Organizer and Scoring Guide

Exit Ticket – Question prompt students will complete before the end of the class period


Students will be assessed formatively based upon responses during periods of class discussion and observation during independent work. Summative assessment will occur by a scoring of the students completed graphic organizers and exit tickets to measure if the stated objective has been met.

Assessment Criteria:

Learning and understanding will be assessed by evaluating their responses to the graphic organizer, the rubric is located at the end of this document. The exit tickets will be used as tool to check to see if students can properly demonstrate a mastery of the stated objectives of the lesson. Mastery will be achieved if they can make accurate and factually supported arguments demonstrating the connections between the Barbary War and the response to 9/11 attack.


There are several ways in which this lesson could be modified and adapted to a variety of different learning abilities. There are more concise accounts of the Barbary War available if the article from is too lengthy or challenging for a group of readers. One of the links below connects to an article more appropriate for a junior high student, and another presents the war as list of key events and activities in a short concise manner.

The presentation of the material could be modified to meet easily to address the needs of a variety of students. In AP course students would be expected to read the challenging texts independently and draw their own conclusions. If these texts were to be used in a classroom with different abilities the instructor could read the passages aloud and offer guiding questions and statements to help students understand the concepts. The passages selected from the documents could also be shortened but may require the instructor to provide a greater context to the students with direct instruction.

Links to sources that can accommodate greater variety of learning abilities:

·         Junior reading level account of the Barbary Wars: Barbary Wars

·         Quick fact sheet about the Barbary Wars for a timeline of key events: Fact Sheet

The First Barbary War

An article courtesy of the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated in March of 1801, he inherited troubled relations with the Barbary states — the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, along with independent Morocco. The United States had treaties with all four, but tension was high and rising.

American representatives in the region wanted an American naval presence. They regularly, if less eloquently, echoed the 1793 view of their colleague in Lisbon: “When we can appear in the Ports of the various Powers, or on the Coast, of Barbary, with Ships of such force as to convince those nations that We are able to protect our trade, and to compel them if necessary to keep faith with Us, then, and not before, We may probably secure a large share of the Meditn trade, which would largely and speedily compensate the U. S. for the Cost of a maritime force amply sufficient to keep all those Pirates in Awe, and also make it their interest to keep faith.”1 The new president was fully aware of the situation. In 1790, as Secretary of State, he had reported to Congress on the subject in some detail, and he had been directly involved in the region even earlier.2

In 1784 Congress had appointed Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin as peace commissioners to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with the principal states of Europe and the Mediterranean — including the Barbary states. Already in Europe, the commissioners quickly learned that the Europeans made peace with the Barbary powers through treaties that involved annual payments of tribute — sometimes euphemistically called annuities. The merchant vessels of any country without such a treaty were at the mercy of the state-sponsored maritime marauders known as corsairs, sometimes mislabeled pirates.3 The commissioners reported this to Congress and sought guidance.

The Barbary challenge to American merchant shipping sparked a great deal of debate over how to cope with corsair aggression, actual or threatened. Jefferson’s early view guided him in future years. In November 1784, he doubted the American people would be willing to pay annual tribute. “Would it not be better to offer them an equal treaty. If they refuse, why not go to war with them?”4 A month later, having learned that a small American brig had been seized by a Moroccan corsair in the Atlantic, he emphasized the hard line: “Our trade to Portugal, Spain, and the Mediterranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive. Tribute or war is the usual alternative of these pirates. If we yeild [sic] the former, it will require sums which our people will feel. Why not begin a navy then and decide on war? We cannot begin in a better cause nor against a weaker foe.”5  Jefferson was convinced this solution would be more honorable, more effective, and less expensive than paying tribute.6

In addition, he believed that America wanted to be a trading nation, and “to carry as much as possible” in our own vessels. “But,” he wrote James Monroe, “this will require a protecting force on the sea. Otherwise the smallest powers in Europe, every one which possesses a single ship of the line may dictate to us, and enforce their demands by captures on our commerce. Some naval force then is necessary if we mean to be commercial.” However, for the task then before him, he added, “if it be decided that their peace shall be bought it shall engage my most earnest endeavours.”7  And that would be the approach John Adams favored. He believed that paying tribute would be more economical and easier than convincing the people of the United States to fund the building of a navy.8 

Congress did decide that peace was to be bought. They authorized $80,000 for negotiations. The Commissioners sent American consul Thomas Barclay to Morocco and Connecticut sea captain John Lamb to Algiers.  In Morocco the draft treaty Barclay carried with him was accepted with only minor changes. Jefferson, Adams and Congress were very satisfied; the Morocco treaty made American vessels safe from Moroccan corsairs and there was no call for future tribute.9

The offer of an equal treaty did not work elsewhere in Barbary. Algiers was much more dependent than Morocco on the fruits of corsairing — captured goods, slaves, the ransoms they brought, and tribute — and less amenable to a peace treaty with the United States. While planning the Barbary missions the American Commissioners had learned that two American ships — the Maria and the Dauphin — had been captured by Algerine corsairs. As a result, Lamb was instructed to negotiate ransom for the captives in Algiers as well as a peace treaty to prevent further attacks on American vessels. This proved impossible with the limited budget Congress had approved.10

After the failure of the Lamb mission in 1786 Jefferson made further futile attempts to launch negotiations with the dey of Algiers, both from Paris and later as Secretary of State under President Washington. During these years American vessels in the Mediterranean sailed in convoy with European ships, often with Portuguese naval protection, flew European flags illegally, or ventured out at considerable risk from Barbary corsairs. In the Atlantic, the Morocco treaty provided protection from Moroccan corsairs and the Portuguese navy kept those from Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli in the Mediterranean. That was changed by an Algiers-Portugal treaty in 1793. In a very few months Algerine corsairs seized eleven American merchant vessels — at least ten of them in the Atlantic — with over 100 crewmen and passengers.11

Jefferson was no longer Secretary of State in 1795 when America finally did make peace with Algiers, agreeing to pay annual tribute. The following year, once the US met its initial treaty commitments, the Americans held in Algiers were freed, including the few survivors from the Maria and the Dauphin.  Treaties were also concluded with Tripoli, in 1796, and Tunis in 1797. Soon after, American consuls were appointed in each Barbary state.12

The news from these consuls that awaited the new administration in 1801 was distressing.  Tension was particularly great with Tripoli. Pasha Yusuf  Qaramanli, feeling slighted by the Americans, was threatening war. He was convinced the Americans treated him less well than they did the other Barbary rulers. He was right, but Tunis and Algiers had negotiated better treaties. In October 1800, five months before Jefferson took office, the American consul in Tripoli, James Cathcart, summarized the long, rambling messages he had been sending the Secretary of State and others for a year or more. In short, he said, the pasha’s message is “if you don’t give me a present I will forge a pretext to capture your defenseless merchantmen; he likewise says that he expects an answer as soon as possible, and that any delay on our side will only serve to injure our own interests….”13

A week after that was written in October 1800, a Tripolitan corsair took a captive American brig, the Catharine, into Tripoli.  The pasha immediately ordered the Catharine and her crew released and dismissed the corsair captain. His explanation: he had told the president that “before he would take any measures whatsoever against the United States” he would wait for the President’s answer to his letter of five months earlier (May 25, 1800). Later, however, in a meeting with Cathcart, Captain Carpenter of the Catharine and local officials, the Pashaw declared that he wanted money from America, that he would wait six more months for an acceptable reply to his letter to the President, and that he would declare war on the United States if the answer did not arrive in that time or was unsatisfactory. Reporting on that public ultimatum, Cathcart explained to the Secretary of State why America owed nothing to the pasha and how he was regularly at war with some country or other from which he would demand beneficial negotiations. (He was then at war with Sweden which would soon agree to pay annual tribute and ransom for 131 captives; 14 Swedish merchantmen had been seized by Tripolitan corsairs since the angered Pasha had broken an existing treaty and declared war a few months earlier).14

The demanding, threatening language Cathcart reported to the Secretary of State was more explicit than the Pasha’s unanswered letter to president Adams of May 25 but no more so than the exchanges Cathcart had related then and previously. The consul had followed his report with a circular letter in November to American consuls and agents in the Mediterranean. He advised them to warn American ships of the possibility of hostile action by Tripolitan corsairs from the month of March, or possibly sooner, a warning he repeated in January after Tripoli made peace with Sweden. In February, efforts by the dey of Algiers and Cathcart to ease tensions with the pasha were fruitless, producing only more confirmation of the likelihood of war as the corsair fleet began fitting out.15  On February 21, 1801, in a new circular letter, Cathcart told the consuls and agents, “to detain all merchant vessels navigating under the flag of the United States, in port, and by no means to permit any of them to sail unless they are under convoy, as I am now convinced that the Bashaw of Tripoli will commence hostilities against the United States of America in less than sixty days.”16 

With the Quasi-War with France ended by the Convention of 1800, the incoming Jefferson administration turned its attention to the looming trouble in Barbary. The new president very quickly made his decisions. He would arrange the payments long overdue to the rulers in Algiers and Tunis and following his convictions of earlier years he would send the navy to deal with the maritime forces of Barbary, of whose strength he himself prepared an estimate from documents sent him by the Navy department.17 The American navy had just been reduced to modest size, but its first ships had been commissioned in response to the Algerine seizures of American merchantmen in 1793 and it was time to show it in Barbary waters.

Early in June, barely three months after the inauguration a small squadron — three frigates and a schooner — sailed for the Mediterranean under Commodore Richard Dale. If they found on arrival that war had been declared, the squadron was to protect American shipping from the corsairs and to “chastise their insolence … by sinking, burning, or destroying their ships and vessels wherever you shall find them.” It was also to blockade the harbor of any of the regencies that had declared war on America and, to the extent possible, was to convoy merchantmen when asked.  In addition, Commodore Dale was to take to Algiers and Tunis letters, gifts for the rulers, tribute payments in the case of Algiers and assurances to both rulers that overdue tribute was soon to be forthcoming on other vessels. And, he was to go to Tripoli. There he would deliver the President’s letter to the pasha and, if still at peace, could give Cathcart money for a gift to the pasha.18

Jefferson’s letter to Pasha Qaramanli emphasized “our sincere desire to cultivate peace & commerce with your subjects.” Also mentioned was our dispatch to the Mediterranean of “a squadron of observation” whose appearance [we hope] will give umbrage to no power.” The squadron’s purpose, the letter explained, was to exercise our seamen and to “superintend the safety of our commerce…[which] we mean to rest…on the resources of our own strength & bravery in every sea.”19 Meanwhile, Secretary Madison wrote American consuls in the Mediterranean that the President, convinced “of the hostile purposes of the Bashaw of Tripoli” was sending a naval squadron to protect our commerce in the Mediterranean and to respond appropriately to any powers who declared war on the United States.20

Unfortunately, the pasha had not waited to hear from the new president. Yusuf Qaramanli declared war on the United States on May 14, 1801 by chopping down the flagpole at the American consulate in Tripoli.21

On arrival at Gibraltar July 1, Commodore Dale learned we were at war with Tripoli. During the next few months, squadron vessels blocked two Tripolitan corsairs in Gibraltar, delivered goods and messages in Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, escorted American merchant ships, and briefly blockaded Tripoli harbor. In the only real action that year, the schooner Enterprize engaged and soundly defeated the Tripolitan ship Tripoli off the coast of Malta on August 1.22

In his annual address to Congress at the end of the year Jefferson reported on the demands of the pasha, concluded that “the style of the demand admitted but one answer,” and described the action taken to date. That action had been taken without any consultation with Congress, but the president now asked for formal and expanded power to deal with Barbary. Two months later Congress passed an act authorizing him to instruct naval commanders to seize Tripolitan goods and vessels, and to commission privateers to aid in the effort.23

During the following three years the pasha maintained his demands and the United States, rotating ships and crews, maintained its naval presence in the Mediterranean as well as diplomatic efforts to make peace. In 1802 Jefferson was reportedly of the view “that the time is come when negociations [sic] may advantageously take place.” He was to be disappointed.24 Tripolitan corsairs evaded the blockade and American merchantmen were captured. Most escaped their captors; only one was carried into port, the Franklin, in 1802, and the five Americans on it were quickly ransomed. In Algiers, Richard O’Brien sarcastically remarked without comment: “It is asserted that there are at sea, at present, six sail of Tripoline corsairs & it is asserted that the frigates of the United States & those of Sweden are blockading Tripoli.”25 Nor did the blockade stop Tripoli’s trade with other Barbary powers. It did, however, interfere with it, and the other rulers sided with the pasha. The possibility of Tunis and/or Morocco entering the war became a serious concern off and on throughout 1802.

By then Jefferson was reconsidering his position. He had inherited a national debt that he was determined to eliminate, but the challenge posed by Tripoli could not be ignored. The old question was still debated: which would be less costly, tribute or war? The president had argued in favor of the latter, but as 1802 advanced war was proving to be more difficult and more costly than anticipated —it would to be even more so if other Barbary powers became involved. “They know they cannot meet us with force any more than they could France, Spain or England,” he wrote from Monticello at the end of March. “Their system is a war of little expense to them, which must put the great nations to a greater expense than the presents which would buy it off.”26 He was still as much against buying peace and paying tribute as he had been since first dealing with Barbary in 1784; it was a matter of principle. But one had to be practical as well as principled.27

Back in Washington ten days later, Jefferson asked his cabinet whether we should buy peace with Tripoli. All agreed that should be an option. The next day, Secretary Madison wrote Cathcart: “…it is thought best that you should not be tied down to a refusal of presents whether to be included in the peace, or to be made from time to time during its continuance, especially as in the latter case the title to the presents will be a motive to its continuance.” He was given explicit dollar limits and reminded that any engagements should be kept smaller if possible.28

There had also been a complete change in negotiators. Cathcart was no longer welcome in Tripoli, Tunis or Algiers; Consul William Eaton had left Tunis on orders from the bey and returned to America; and Tobias Lear had arrived as Consul General in Algiers in November 1803 to replace Richard O’Brien, who had long sought to leave the post. Lear was also to take over negotiations with the pasha in Tripoli with instructions based on Cathcart’s revised guidance, allowing present on treaty signature, periodic tribute and ransom for captives if necessary.29

A new commodore for the Mediterranean squadron was also named in 1803, Captain Edward Preble. He had barely arrived when he was told that Morocco was at war with America and Moroccan corsairs were looking for American merchantmen. Commodore Preble spent his first month in the region dealing with Morocco. Early in October, with four US Navy warships in Tangier harbor the troublesome issues were resolved peaceably by Commodore Preble and Consul James Simpson.30

The most important naval action in 1803 involved the frigate Philadelphia, which ran aground near Tripoli in October. The pasha imprisoned the 307-man crew and refloated and repaired the stricken vessel. Before they could make any use of her, though, on February 16, 1804 a U.S. navy team under Lt. Stephen Decatur slipped into Tripoli harbor after dark and set fires on board that totally destroyed the Philadelphia. The loss of the frigate weakened the American squadron, while captives from the Philadelphia gave the pasha new leverage and prospects of substantial ransom.31

When news of the Philadelphia’s loss reached America, Jefferson and his colleagues began looking for a way to send at least two more frigates to the Mediterranean. Congress rallied behind the President and the navy, approving a new tax and new expenditures for the war.32 After initial political and public criticism of the president due to the devastating loss, widespread public support was stimulated by Stephen Decatur’s successful stealth mission under Tripoli’s guns.33

Jefferson’s thinking about how to deal with the Barbary challenge had evolved with experience. Already in 1803, planning to add smaller vessels to the squadron and just before approving presents for peace and annual tribute, he had written his Secretary of the Navy “I have never believed in any effect from a show of force to those powers…but [if one works within their system of presents and tribute] the warring on them at times will keep the demand of presents within bounds. The important thing for us now is to dispatch our small vessels.”34 A year later, in 1804, he decided the current squadron was not big enough to do the job. Newly-appointed Commodore Samuel Barron would command eleven vessels, “a force which would be able, beyond the possibility of a doubt, to coerce the enemy to a peace on terms compatible with our honor and our interest.”35  The expanded squadron would be more than twice the size of the original one three years earlier and its mix of frigates, brigs and smaller vessels would be better suited to its mission.

With his expanded fleet, Commodore Barron was to maintain “an effectual blockade of Tripoli” and “you will by all other means in your power annoy the enemy so as to force him to a peace honorable to the United States.” Negotiations to that end were left in the hands of Tobias Lear, Consul General in Algiers, with whom Barron would “cordially cooperate… in all such measures as may be deemed the best calculated to effectuate a termination of The war with Tripoli and to ensure a continuance of the friendship and respect of the other Barbary Powers.”36 

After arriving on the scene, if Barron judged it expedient he was authorized to support an overland attack on Tripoli by forces supporting the restoration to power of Hamet Qaramanli, an older brother ousted in a 1796 coup by Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli. That idea had been proposed in 1801 by James Cathcart and also by William Eaton who knew the exiled Hamet in Tunis when he was American consul there. The proposal had received qualified approval from Secretary of State Madison in 1802.37

Commodore Barron arrived in the Mediterranean in the fall of 1804 with Eaton, now American Naval Agent for Barbary38 and anxious to implement his scheme to lead ex-pasha Hamet overland to attack Tripoli.  With or without a change of pasha, however, peace was Jefferson’s objective. A few days after Secretary Madison had given hesitant support to Eaton’s plan back in 1802, Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith wrote Commodore Morris, who was then commanding the squadron in the Mediterranean: “In adjusting the terms of Peace with the Dey of Tripoli, whatever regard may be had to the situation of his Brother, it is not to be considered by you of sufficient magnitude to prevent or even to retard a final settlement with the Dey. Mr Eton (sic) in this affair cannot be considered an authorized agent of the Government.”39

Barron had doubts about involving Hamet, but Eaton and Captain Preble persuaded him. November 16 Eaton sailed on the brig Argus to find Hamet in Egypt. Barron may have expected Eaton to bring Hamet to Syracuse for a consultation40—that is unclear—but having eventually located him, Eaton helped the ex-pasha put together a collection of a few hundred armed Arabs and Greeks, mostly mercenaries under a handful of disparate leaders. Eaton, Hamet and several marines marched their “army’ nearly 500 miles through the desert along the southern shore of the Mediterranean and, on April 27, 1805, they captured the town of Derne, some miles east of Benghazi. The Argus and two sister ships supplied them with provisions along their march and actively supported them in the taking of Derne (where Hamet had been governor three years before under his brother Yusuf). In the meantime, the American blockade of Tripoli had been maintained through the winter and spring.

Commodore Barron was seriously ill in Syracuse (Sicily), whence he continued to oversee fleet affairs. Concerned that Eaton may be over-committing himself, he had written in March to point out that the United States was working with Hamet only to achieve its own ends and was in no way committed to putting him back in power.41 Then, May 18, he wrote Tobias Lear that, from what he had learned of Hamet Qaramanli, he could no longer support the plan involving the ex-pasha. He noted that the condition of some of his vessels and periods of enlistment of his personnel precluded another winter of blockade, was concerned about the fate of the American prisoners held by the pasha, and thought it time to respond to encouraging hints from Tripoli favoring negotiation. Not mentioned, but no doubt also on his mind, his health would not permit him to lead an attack on Tripoli that summer.42  Indeed, he handed command of the squadron to Captain John Rodgers less than a week later. 

Lear sailed from Syracuse for Tripoli May 24th. Negotiations began shortly after his arrival, preliminary articles were agreed June 3 and the American captives from the Philadelphia were embarked on US vessels June 4. The final document was signed on the tenth. It involved neither payment for peace nor annual tribute. Based on the difference between the numbers of captives held on the two sides, ransom of $60,000 was agreed, well below the limit given Lear. Far to the east, the Americans, Hamet and his close associates left Derne on board American naval vessels June 12.  The Senate ratified the treaty April 12, 1806.43 

The conclusion of the war in 1805 set off a wave of national pride among Americans, inspiring artwork and patriotic songs. But the circumstances under which peace was achieved gave President Jefferson’s political opponents ammunition to criticize his decisions. The Federalists championed the cause of William Eaton, who complained that the United States’s Navy had abandoned Hamet Qaramanli and Eaton’s plan to reinstall him as Pasha. Eaton felt that if his plan had been carried through, the United States would have won a more glorious victory.44 Jefferson formally addressed questions about his treatment of Hamet in a letter to the Senate. There, he reiterated and amplified the reasoning of Madison’s 1802 letters to Eaton and Cathcart: “We considered that concerted operations by those who have a common enemy were entirely justifiable, and might produce effects favorable to both without binding either to guarantee the objects of the other,” explaining that “cooperation only was intended and by no means an union of our object with the fortune of the ex-pasha.” Jefferson explained that the U.S. government had never planned a full-scale land attack to place Hamet back in power, noting that  Hamet himself had acknowledged that he was to carry out the land operations, while the U.S. undertook those by sea. The experience reaching and taking Derne made it clear that Hamet had little local backing and access to few resources. When, at the same time, an opportunity for peace presented itself, Tobias Lear seized it.45

Jefferson exonerated himself from playing any part in building up the expectations of Hamet, and he defended any unauthorized verbal commitments Eaton may have made, stating that, “In operations at such a distance, it becomes necessary to leave much to the discretion of the agents employed, but events may still turn up beyond the limits of that discretion. Unable in such a case to consult his government, a zealous citizen will act as he believes that would direct him, were it apprised of the circumstances, and will take on himself the responsibility. In all these cases the purity and patriotism of the motives should shield the agent from blame, and even secure a sanction where the error is not too injurious.” 

The U.S. government did attempt to provide some concessions for Hamet  Qaramanli in terms of the treaty. Tobias Lear convinced the Pasha to accept a clause that would require him to restore Hamet ’s wife and family. Roughly a year after the U.S. Senate had ratified the treaty, it was learned that Lear had added a secret clause that allowed the Pasha to wait four years to return the family. That fact might well have prevented ratification of the treaty had the legislature been aware of it. Although the Barbary victory had been tainted by questionable actions on the part of Lear and Eaton, both had technically gone beyond the bounds of their instructions, and so the reputation of President Jefferson and his administration suffered minimal damage.46

– Original article by Elizabeth Huff, August 2, 2011; revised and expanded by Priscilla and Richard Roberts, September 26, 2011.

President George W. Bush address to the nation on September 11.2001

Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

 Name:                                                                 Date:


After reading about the Barbary War and viewing President Bush’s speech about the 9/11 attacks explain the possible connections that can be made between the two events.









Consider the following question in regards to the powers defined within the Constitution.


According to the Constitution, how does the nation determine when to go to war?


Powers of the Legislative Branch

Article I Section 8

10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Powers of the Executive Branch

Article II Section 2

1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.



Thomas Jefferson 1st State of the Union Address to Congress in 1801

Context: This document was submitted to Congress on December 8, 1801 as Thomas Jefferson’s first state of the union address. The following excerpt describes the actions that Jefferson has taken against the Barbary States in his role as commander in chief. Jefferson had been inaugurated on March 4, 1801. The 7th United States Congress was active on March 4th and 5th for the inauguration and the opening of the session, but then members immediately returned back home to their congressional districts until December 7th 1801 when Congress reconvened. The following is Jefferson’s report to Congress on how he has acted as commander in chief while they have been away from the Capitol for nine months.

…I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary. The Bey had already declared war. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded and that of the Atlantic in peril.

The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single 1 on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction. Unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense, the vessel, being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew.

The Legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offense also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of this important function confided by the Constitution to the Legislature exclusively their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstances of weight.

I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary States was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty, by immediate measures for fulfilling them, to vindicate to ourselves the right of considering the effect of departure from stipulation on their side. From the papers which will be laid before you you will be enabled to judge whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measure of their demands or as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power, and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture…

homas Jefferson

First Annual Message
December 8, 1801

Complete the graphic organizer with information from the primary source document:


F – Find the Facts


List and explain the key people, places, and terms.












A – Add the History

What is happening before, during, and after this time period?











C – Connections


Make at least three connections to other periods in history.











T – Tell the Significance

How does this document relate to the war powers granted by the U.S. Constitution?















Exit Ticket:


After investigating the constitutional principles for conducting war and comparing the entry into the Barbary War and the War on Terror assess the impact of the precedents that have been established for taking the nation to war. What does this mean for the future of the nation?









FACT Method Scoring Guide


Level 5 (90 – 100%)

·         All relevant information is identified, including the main idea.

·         The context before, during, and after the document are correctly and fully explained.

·         3 or more connections have been made between the document and other events  

·         The question is answered fully, accurately and exceptionally well using ALL of the information.


Level 4 (80 – 89%)     

·         Most of the relevant information is identified; the main idea is not complete.

·         Most of the context before, during, and after the document are correctly and fully explained.

·         2 connections have been made between the document and other events 

·         The question is answered somewhat fully, accurately with most of the information. 


Level 3 (70 – 79%)     

·         Some relevant information is identified but main idea is vague.

·         Some of the context before, during, and after the document is correct and explained.

·         1 connection has been made between the document and other events. 

·         The question is answered very simply with some of the information.


Level 2 (60 – 69%)     

·         Little relevant information is identified.

·         An attempt to establish context is made but information may be unclear or inaccurate.

·         Connections are irrelevant or factually inaccurate. 

·         The question is answered very vaguely or contains inaccuracies.


Level 1 (0 – 59%)       

·         Very little or no information is identified.

·         No context has been established for the document.

·         No connections have been made to the document.

·         The question is not answered.