Jefferson’s Complicated Relationship With the U.S. Navy

Fortunately for the navy, tribute to the Barbary Pirates was approaching 30% of the Federal budget and it was obvious to Jefferson and the Congress that it would go in only one direction, up. The money spent on tribute could more than pay for a Navy. With the Barbary Pirates again seizing U.S. flagged ships in the Caribbean, he authorized the Navy to expand and he ordered them to the Mediterranean in May 1801 to end this piracy.

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