Wars of the Barbary Pirates Research Proposal

Pages: 5 (1598 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines, by Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines, Gregory Fremont-Barnes, Osprey Pub Co, November 2006

Main Theses

Gregory Fremont-Barnes' "Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines" is based on two main theses. They refer to the importance of the wars in gaining the freedom for the American population and the importance the wars played in the creation of the modern U.S. Navy.

About the Author

Currently living in Oxford, United Kingdom, Gregory Fremont-Barnes has generically manifested an interest in historical events. As a young adult, his passion for history materialized in hard studies, which culminated with his gaining of three historical degrees. One is from the University of California, Berkley; the second one is from the University of Chicago and the third one is from the University of Oxford. Fremont-Barnes has also had a close relationship with several Japanese universities, most prominently with the Kobe University, where he gave lectures on English and American history for nearly a decade (1993 to 2002). Aside "Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines." Fremont-Barnes' list of workings also includes "The French Revolutionary Wars," "The Peninsular War, 1807-1814," "The Fall of the French Empire, 1813-1815," "The Boer War 1899-1902," "Trafalgar 1805: Nelson's Crowning Victory."

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The author has also collaborated to the writing of the three volumes on the "Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars" and is currently engaged in a project aimed to release four volumes of "Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War" (Random House).

3. Book Summary

Research Proposal on Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Assignment

"Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines" commences with an introductory part that basically summarizes the entire content of the book. The reader is able to get a general idea from the introduction, create a basis and make it as such easier to understand the book as it continues. Fremont-Barnes then continues with a chronological presentation of the events that preceded and followed the Tripoli War. He then goes on by presenting the historical origins of the arising conflict, in the background of the features which characterized the environment at the time. The following eight pages contain information on the parties involved, with emphasis on the American and Barbary personalities.

Gregory Fremont-Barnes continues his book by presenting the main reasons which lead to the armed conflict. These basically revolve around the malicious behavior of the Barbary States relative to the American citizens and are organized under the section name of "Extortion on a grand scale." These malicious operations occurred primarily because of the Islamics' desire to achieve economic growth. They included robberies, seaborne traffic and slavery. The author also points out that the problem with the Barbary pirates could have been easily eradicated sooner, but this did not constitute a priority for the European powers.

Since the situation became unbearable, the U.S. President ordered an expedition to the region in order to punish the pirates and remove them from leading positions. This is the time when the first naval heroes in the American history emerged. To best present this, Fremont-Barnes describes the "Portrait of a sailor -- Commodore Stephen Decatur, United States Navy." The author also presents the "Portrait of a Civilian."

The book on the Tripoli war and its impact upon the American society and military comes to an end with a presentation of the Algerine wars, to finally culminate with a perspective on the Barbary Wars. The entire book adds up to no more than 95 pages, but which are rich in data and contain reliable information.

4. Analysis of Theses

In "Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines," Gregory Fremont-Barnes strives to clarify several aspects of the American history, which were left unanalyzed. His approach is objective and based on documented facts and his motivation is basically given by the neglected importance of the American wars against piracy. "Most Americans are unaware that, as a young republic, their nation fought a war with the Barbary pirates […] This is perhaps not surprising, for the wars were conducted on a small scale, over a short period of time, and at a considerable distance from the American shores" (Fremont-Barnes, 2006, p.7). The purpose of the book then, is to present the war fought against the Barbary pirates in a way that helps the reader better understand the American history.

"Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines" commences with an introductory part, placing the war against the Barbary pirates in time and space and also revealing its true importance "The wars […] signalled America's determination to throw off its tributary status, liberate its captive citizens, and reassert its right to navigate and trade freely upon the seas" (Fremont-Barnes, 2006, p.7). But this did not only ensure a physical freedom, but a mental one as well. To better understand, by winning the war against the Barbary States, the American citizen was prouder, safer and consequently so was the country. In other words, the victory improved America's own perception of itself (its self-image), but also improved the way it was perceived by the players in the international context. This specification is important to be made as prior to the wars, the United States had suffered humiliations due to its lacking ability to protect its citizens travelling by sea. To ensure this protection however, they were forced to pay tributes to the Barbary Pirates. The victory then meant that they no longer had to suffer these humiliations and improved the self-image of America and its citizens.

Fremont-Barnes also emphasizes on the role the wars played in the creation and further strength of the American navy, which would then help the country in its battles against the British Empire. "The wars against the Barbary States would provide the U.S. Navy with vital experience that would stand it in good stead during the Anglo-American War of 1812" (Fremont-Barnes, 2006, p.7). The American maritime forces had existed before the armed conflict with the Barbary States, but they were rather rudimentary. In other words then, it could easily be said that the Tripolitan War was the promoter of the modern American navy. During the conflicts, the American troops attempted for the first time in history to occupy a foreign port and set troops on enemy soil. "At sea, while captive American sailors languish in filthy prisons and endure years of slavery, the infant U.S. Navy engages in bloody encounters over the decks of opposing ships, performing, in one notable instance, perhaps the greatest exploit of the age of fighting sail" (Fremont-Barnes, 2006, p.8).

The innovative and courageous operations have also had the benefit of revealing the first naval heroes of the American history, such as the commodore Stephen Decatur.

5. Conclusions

Gregory Fremont-Barnes is a notable historian with a vast expertise in the field of armed confrontations between the players in the international field. A relevant work of his is "Wars of the Barbary Pirates: To the Shores of Tripoli, the Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines," a book cored on the wars between the United States and the Barbary States. The book has a rather long title, but it only covers 95 pages. It is well written, concise and explicit. The 95 pages work contains vast and reliable information, retrieved from numerous sources. It also contains various depictions of the conflicts and copies of famous paintings presenting the parties and the actual conflict.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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