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Primary Sources
Adams, John. John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, July 3, 1786. National Archives. Accessed
January 24, 2016.
In this particular letter, John Adams explains the reasoning behind his decision to pursue
peaceful negotiations with the Barbary states and to do so rapidly. His viewpoint
conflicts with what Jefferson believed was the best decision. Initially, America followed
Adams' plan until it ultimately failed after just a few years.
Adams, John. "Message to the Senate and House regarding Envoys to France." June 21, 1798.
President Adam's message to Congress concerning the treatment of American envoys in
the XYZ affair shows the tension between the two nations, tensions that would set the
tone over the next several months and culminating in naval violence on the Atlantic
Ocean, disrupting the American shipping industry.
Dodd, Robert. To Captain P.B.V. Broke commanding his majesty's ship Shannon, his officers,
seamen, and marines, this representation of their gallantly boarding the American frigate
Chesapeak. Photograph.
A well-known British marine painter, Robert Dodd painted this depiction of the
Chesapeake Affair in 1813. Dodd's painting served as a good visual for this event and
represented one specific person's take on the influential Chesapeake Affair of 1807.
Gillray, James. "The Times." 1783. In British Cartoon Prints Collection, compiled by Donald H.
Cresswell. Accessed November 12, 2015.
A political cartoon during America's early economic struggles, Gillray's take on the times
provides a British prospective on the situation in America. His representation of America
as a scroll being carried away by a demon, while representatives of European nation
watch, shows how precarious the country's economic situation was in the 1780s.
Jefferson, Thomas. Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, January 17, 1971. Library of
Jefferson discusses the notion of reconstructing the treaty with France more in favor of
France, a major trade partner of America. Written in 1791, this document reveals the
importance of American trade with France and how trade relations with France have
changed since the end of the American Revolution (previously, France had restricted
American trade at some of their busiest ports).

Jefferson, Thomas. Thomas Jefferson to Horatio Gates, December 13, 1784. National Archives.
Accessed January 24, 2016.
A letter from the desk of Thomas Jefferson, this primary source provides a clear opinion
of the Barbary States according to Thomas Jefferson. It provides another primary source
that shows the importance of the Mediterranean to the well being of America and the
current precarious position of American merchants in the area.
Jefferson, Thomas. Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Greene, January 12, 1786. Accessed January
5, 2016.
In a letter to Nathaniel Greene, a military general, Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of
State, discusses the situation in the Mediterranean. He details that different kingdoms
have taken ships and cargo. Both the Algiers and the kingdom of Morocco seize
American ships and demand ransom for the safety of American merchants on the
Mediterranean, but Americans are unwilling to pay. Americans believe that they are
above the common practice of European commerce.
Jefferson, Thomas. Thomas Jefferson to Yusuf Qaramanli, May 21, 1801. National Archives.
Accessed January 24, 2016.
Written to the leader of one of the Barbary States, Thomas Jefferson's letter tries to
prevent the use of violence between the two nations. Thomas Jefferson lays out his hope
for the future relationship between the two as peaceful and where both benefit
economically. Jefferson's attempts, however, failed and the nations engaged in a small
Monroe, James. James Monroe to Joseph Carlton, November 26, 1784. Papers of War
James Monroe, a member of the Continental Congress, wrote this letter to peer Joseph
Carlton in 1784 to discuss the economic situation with several different countries.
Monroe's letter provided a good first-hand account of the American trade relationship
with both Great Britain and Spain. In the letter, Monroe reveals that he thinks the
British's continual occupation of the trading posts is hurting the young nation, offering a
unique perspective.
Printed copy, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 179395, Senate Records of Legislative
Proceedings, Presidents Messages; LB, DLC:GW.
President Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality to Congress during the mid-1790's
effectively made America's previous military aid agreement with France null and void.
This proclamation was met with indignation by many Americans who felt an obligation
to the French, while the the French themselves felt anger, forming a resentment that
would permeate the time period.

Schmidt, John William, Adm. Scene Depicting the Action of 9 February 1799. Illustration.
Public Domain.
This illustration by retired admiral Schmidt shows the USS Constellation in battle with
the French L'insurgente, a maritime battle that had large implications on how the
American public viewed the French.
Washington, George. George Washington to Congress, December 7, 1796, Address. N.p., 1796.
Accessed January 6, 2016.
In this address to Congress, George Washington outlines the necessary goals for the
United States. A lack of a formidable naval force has hindered American commerce
overseas. Britain continues to plague the United States because of remaining troops and
outposts in New England. Recognizing the issue, Washington reports the sending of
agents to aid in commercial relationships with Spain and Britain. He optimistically
reports that the debt is shrinking and the government is slowly getting stronger.
Waud, A. R. Flatboats. Wood Engraving. Accessed January 25, 2016.
Portraying the large amount of boats along the Mississippi River and in New Orleans,
this image shows how important New Orleans and the Mississippi were to the American
economy because they were such a busy port. With access to these markets, American
merchants were presented with opportunities to sell their goods.

Secondary Sources
Allen, Gardner. Our Naval War with France. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1909.
Author and historian Gardner Allen describes a violent clash between a French Warship
and an American merchant ship, an event that highlights the state of affairs between the
two countries in the Atlantic. French aggression against the American merchant fleet
ravaged American shipping, crippling the United States economy.

Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict. N.p.: n.p., 1989.

Hickey's book provided an important excerpt regarding the Chesapeake Affair, and the
Chesapeake Affair perhaps best represented the state of naval affairs between the United
States of America and Great Britain. The Chesapeake Affair influence America's
economic situation, and Hickey's book gave a complete overview of the entire event.
LaFeber, Walter. The American Age: United States Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad since
1750. New York City: W.W. Norton & Company, 1989.
Providing a detailed account of the history of foreign policy, the book analyzes the
shortcomings of early American foreign policy. It also presents the causes of these
failures because of a lack of federal government strength granted by the Articles of
Thomas Jefferson Foundation. "The First Barbary War." Accessed January 22,
A detailed secondary source describing the development of American policy towards the
Barbary States, this article provided a thorough account of specific politicians' roles in
the implementation of American foreign policy. Also, its appendix was a massive source
of links to letters and other primary sources from the time that were instrumental to the
U.S. Department of State. "Treaty of San Lorenzo/ Pinckney's Treaty, 1795." Office of the
This document provides information about the Treaty of San Lorenzo, signed between
America and Spain. The Treaty of San Lorenzo was a diplomatic success for America as
it resolved disputes over rights to navigate the Mississippi River and the port of New
Orleans. Spanish restriction of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans had
seriously hindered American trade.
Wellborn, Fred W. Diplomatic History of the United States. N.p.: n.p., 1962.
Author Fred Wellborn gives a comprehensive overview on American foreign policy,
beginning with the birth of the nation. This book provides a nice overview of the different
economic and political relationships America had with other countries during this time
Whitney, Jocelyn, Darley, and Felix Octavius Carr. Desperate Conflict of American Seamen
under Decatur, on Boarding a Tripolitan Corsair. 1855. Image. Accessed January 24,
Even though it comes a half-century after the war took place, this painting helps to show
the fierce battling that took place during the Tripolitan War and the sacrifices of the many
sailors who fought.

Tertiary Sources
"The Confederation Faces Challenges." AP U.S. History Notes.
As a tertiary source, this website helped to provide an overview of the economic situation
of the 1780s that helped us to find avenues of research and a general sense of the issues
that the young country faced.