Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 6, January 31

Back to Thomas Jefferson.

In 1786, Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli's ambassador to England and asked him by what right his nation attacked American ships and took Americans captive.

The ambassador claimed that the right was bestowed upon them by the laws of their prophet.  It was written in the Koran, he maintained, that all nations who didn't acknowledge their (Muslim) authoritiy were sinners.  It was not only their right but their duty to make war upon other nations and to enslave the captives.

Jefferson and Adams were more than disgusted.  When Jefferson took office in 1801 as third president of the United States, the pasha of Tripoli sent him a note demanding $225,000 plus $25,000 a year for every year thereafter in return for the safety of American ships.

Jefferson told the pasha would he could do with his demands.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 5, January 30

Do you know how the Marines got the nickname "leathernecks?"  I didn't.   Not until I read the history of America fighting the Barbary Priates did I learn how the name came about.

Around 1815, Tripoli's attacks on American ships reached an all-time high.  The bravery of the United States Marine Corps in the war of fighting the pirates led to the phrase "to the shores of Tripoli" in the Marine hymn.  Marines were issued uniforms with leather collars that prevented their heads from being chopped off by Muslim scimitars as pirates boarded their ships.

The name stuck, and Marines are proud to be called leathernecks to this day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 4, January 29

A side note here:

Jefferson feverently believed in religious freedom and had co-authored the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom.. He was not anti-Islam.  He was anti-Islamist.  That, I believe, is an important distinction.   He had his own copy of the Koran and studied it, wanting to understand its tenets, and came to appreciate much of it.

While he admired the beauty of parts of the Koran, Jefferson also understood that fundamentalist Islamism was like no religion the world had ever encountered.    Any religion based upon supremacism was not only repugnant to him but a warning.

Long ahead of his time, Jerfferson feared that someday this brand of Islamism would pose an even greater threat to the United States than that posed by the pirates. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 3, Jaunary 28

More than two hundred years before America's famed war on terrorism, Thomas Jefferson was fighting terrorism. Ironically, the threat our nation faced at that time was from the same enemy we fight today: Islamists.

In 1784, seventeen years before he was elected president of the United States of America, Jefferson left for Paris to become America's Minister to France.   That same year, the United States Cogress tried to appease her Muslim enemies by copying the European nations who paid tributes to the Barbary States, rather than engaging them in war.

Jefferson maintained that bribes ween't the answer. Congress ignored him. Then, in July of 1785, Algerian pirates took two American ships captive and the Dey of Algiers demanded a ransom of nearly $60,000. Jefferson opposed any more ransom payments. Instead, he proposed to Congress the formation of a colalition of allied nations who could, if they worked together, force the Muslim states into peace. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

Even then, Jefferson recognized the threat radical Islam posed to our freedoms and way of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 2, January 27

A little history here:

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Muslim priates terrorized any and all ships in the Mediterranean and Northern Atlantic.  They took captive the crews and any passengers, subjecting them to barbaric treatment until they were ransomed.  The captives wrote heart-wrenching letters to their families and governments, begging them to pay the demanded ransom.

This was extortion at its nastiest.

Before the Revolutionary War, American ships were protected by Great Britain.  When America declared its independence, France came to its aid and took American ships under its wing.  Once the war was over, America had no protectors and was on her own.

Her ships were considered fair game, that is until Thomas Jefferson intervened. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 1, January 26

Dear friends,

For several weeks, or even months, I have been  thinking about a new blog.  I've resisted the idea, as sometimes I have a hard enough time keeping up with one blog.  But something inspired or perhaps compelled me to write about patriotism.  Though I've always thought of myself as a patriotic person, I realize that I know little beyond grade school history facts about our country.

Let's start with a definition.  Patriotism is devotion to one's country and courage in defending it.  How, then, can I call myself patriotic if I know so little about how America came to be?

These posts will be in no particular order.  We may jump from the Civil War to Vietnam, from Betsy Ross to Sarah Palin.  I make no apologies for this disordered approach because that is how my mind works. 

So I invite you to join me on this journey as I learn more about America, what it means to be an American, how we can better serve our country.

Welcome to The Patriot Pages.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 14, February 8

In 16th century Algeirs, the Muslims used educated slaves like Cervantes as amanusenes to pefrom a varietiy of tasks, from transcribing documents to accounting.  In the home of one of the city's religious leaders, Cervantes first learned that last revelation of the Prophet Mohammed 's life has ben deliberately omitted from the KORAN.

Jefferson felt it imperative to find out what this revelation was, especially when he learned that Mohammed was murdered.  Jefferson believed that the prophet was poisoned by one of his apostles. 

How did Jefferson discover this?  He had a network of itnernational contacts and friends in academic, diplomatic, and even espionage circles.  In addition, the European monastic orders charged with ransoming prisoners from the Barbary States provided information.

These monastic orders kept exceptional records.  They interviewed and debriefed all of the prisoners they ransomed and recorded the accounts of their imprisonment verbatim.  Many of these orders had representatives headquartered in France.  Through them, Jefferson hac access to hundreds of archives describing what the prisoners did during their years of captivity, as well as what they say and overheard.