Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dinah Mayo-Bobee

Committee Members

Daryl A. Carter, Melvin E. Page, John Rankin


This study analyzes U.S. relations with the Barbary States from 1784 to 1805. After the American Revolution, the young nation found its commerce menaced in the Mediterranean by North African pirates sponsored by the rulers of Morocco, Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli. As the U.S. sought to find a solution to end piracy and the practice of paying tributes or ransom to free Americans held captive, Thomas Jefferson proposed several solutions as a diplomat, vice president, and as president when he authorized the Tripolitan War (1801-1805). Thus, this look at U.S. relations with the Barbary States focuses on Jefferson’s evolving foreign policy proposals and argues that William Eaton’s secret mission in 1805 eventually reshaped U.S. policy in the Mediterranean and brought Jefferson’s ideas for a military solution to fruition. This change in policy would soon bring about the end of piracy against U.S. merchant vessels and the nation’s involvement in tributary treaties.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.