This is an interesting story that will tie together three things: Thomas Jefferson - Muslims and the United States Marine Corps.
My hope is you will find this is a fascinating story full of pertinent information but also answer the question: Why the U.S. Marine Corp Hymn contains the verse, "To the Shores of Tripoli" in it.
That’s right - over two hundred years ago the United States was fighting with Islam and it was Thomas Jefferson who led the charge against them and here’s why. When Muslims pirates attacked foreign ships they always took the crews and passengers and held them hostage for exorbitant ransoms. The captured sailors and passengers were subjected to barbaric treatment and forced to write heart-breaking letters home, begging their governments and families to pay whatever their Mohammedan captors demanded. If ransoms did not arrive fast enough the heads of the hostages were cut off.
Now before the Revolutionary War, all U.S. merchant ships (those belonging to the American Colonies) sailed under the protection of Great Britain. When the Colonies declared their independence from Britain and entered into the Revolutionary War, all ships of the United States were then protected by France. However, once the Colonists won their Independence from Great Britain the United States of America had to protect its own ships – thus the United States Navy was born.
Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States in 1801; however 17 years before Jefferson was the Ambassador to France when Algerian pirates captured several American ships. The ‘Dye’ of Algiers at that time demanded the U.S. pay a ransom for their safe returns. Jefferson saw payments to Muslim nations as extortion and was opposed to Congress making any such payments. Many other American leaders, including George Washington shared similar feelings. They too warned Congress against caving in and paying Muslims ransoms. They thought paying tribute would only further embolden these fundamentalist Muslims.
Well in 1786 Jefferson and John Adams personally met with Tripoli's Ambassador to Great Britain and asked him what right his nation had to attack American vessels and enslave American citizens and why Muslims held such hostility towards America, a nation with which they had never had a previous contact with.
The Ambassador from Tripoli told the two future Presidents that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet Mohamend and that it was written in the Quran that all nations who do not acknowledge Islamic authority were sinners and that it is every Muslims right and duty to make war upon non-Islam’s. Furthermore Muslims who should be slain in battle with Islam’s enemies would all go to Paradise."
So over the years Congress voted to pay Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships and/or the return of American hostages. The payments Congress made were estimated to be 20 percent of the United States government annual revenue in 1800. Jefferson was disgusted by this policy. He wanted Congress to form a coalition with allied nations who together would force the Islamic states into peace. However a disinterested Congress “voted NO” to his suggestion and decided to continue to pay ransoms.
Shortly after Jefferson was sworn in as the third President of the United States in 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli sent President Jefferson a letter. The letter demanded the U.S. make an immediate payment of $225,000 plus $25,000 a year for every year thereafter. Jefferson replied to the Pasha’s letter by saying he would not comply with his demand. The Pasha in turn responded by cutting down the American flagpole at the consulate in Tripoli and then declared war on the United States. Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers immediately did the same.
Until this time, Jefferson was opposed to America raising any naval force other than one to defend the coast of the USA; but having watched his nation be cowed by Islamic thuggery for 17 long years he had had enough. He decided it was finally time to meet this evil force with force and thus he created the United States Marines.
Once the Marines were in firmly established Jefferson sent a fleet of U.S. frigates loaded with United States Marines into the Mediterranean and north Atlantic. He authorized these American ships to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli and to "cause to be done all other acts of precaution or hostility as any state of war would justify". The orders of the Marines were to confront Muslim pirates in battle and follow them back to their villages and kill every man, woman and child they found.
It didn't take long for Muslim nations to leave U.S. Merchant vessels alone. Algiers and Tunis were accustomed to seeing America’s cowardice and acquiescence but now they saw the newly created United States of America had both the will and the might to strike back and they quickly abandoned their allegiance to Tripoli and their other Barbary Coast neighbors. They left all U.S. shipping traffic in the Mediterranean alone.
The war with the Muslims in Tripoli lasted four years. During this war the exceptional bravery of the U.S. Marine Corps in dealing with Muslim pirates was noted by every nation around the world which led to the line "to the shores of Tripoli" being included in the Marine Corps Hymn. Both the English and French started running up US Flags on their merchant ships’ masts whenever they entered the Mediterranean Sea. They knew that by flying an American flag it would insure safe travels for their crews and ships.
Because of all those fierce battles the Marines had with the Muslims during this period - Marines became known as "leathernecks". Why? After engaging in a few battles with the Muslims, Marines had heavy leather collars sewn on to their uniforms. These heavy leather collars were designed to prevent their heads from easily being cut off by Muslims pirates with their scimitars when Marines boarded their pirate ships.
Thomas Jefferson’s greatest fear upon leaving the office of President was that someday radical Islamist would return. He believed Muslims would pose more threats on the United States and its citizens as time went on.
Ironically we now know that Muslims who have immigrated to the United States over the past two decades have petitioned their units of local government, their local school boards and their State Governments to have women-only classes in public schools – which has been approved in many US school districts. We now know Muslims have petitioned to have women only swimming times in city and universities pools - which we also know has been approved in many American communities.
Muslim have successfully petitioned their local court systems that Christians, Jews, and Hindus cannot serve on juries where Muslim defendants are being judged - which even though this is hard to believe it has actually been agreed to in many American communities and several states. We know that Piggy banks, facial tissue dispensers, wall clocks and computer screen savers with Porky Pig images on them are now banned from many workplaces because they are deemed offensive to Islamist sensibilities – and this too has been approved in several American communities and a host of federal and state government offices.
In the private sector ice cream desserts that were sold at many Burger Kings are now banned because the picture on the BK wrapper looked to similar to an Arabic script for the word Allah – and BK agreed to remove these ice cream treats from many of its locations. Finally many school boards have agreed to remove pork meals, pork sandwiches and pork sausage from their school lunch menus at elementary, middle and high schools.
Jefferson believed it was wrong not to fighting back radical Muslims and not to insist that all newly arrived Islamists' adapt to American culture. He feared the United States would be cutting its own throat with a politically correct knife if we caved in to radical Muslim demands. He was unyielding - that not fighting Islam zealots would only help further the Islamists' agenda in America in the future.
As we all well know there are many of America's leaders today – in Washington, in State Capital and at Local government levels, who don’t share President Jefferson’s opinions. Sadly, the vast majority of our government and political leaders today still prefer to be appease and be politically correct rather than confront any Muslim threat!
If you have any doubts about the above information then just Google "Thomas Jefferson vs. the Muslim World." (Check out all this for yourself.)