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Rough WatersAmerican Involvement with the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries$
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Silvia Marzagalli, James R. Sofka, and John McCusker

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497346

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497346.001.0001

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“The Jeffersonian Idea of National Security” Revisited

“The Jeffersonian Idea of National Security” Revisited

(p.161) “The Jeffersonian Idea of National Security” Revisited
Rough Waters

James R. Sofka

Liverpool University Press

This chapter is the first of two to explore United States President Thomas Jefferson’s approach to the Tripolitanian War. It argues that Jefferson sought to protect and expand American commerce whilst eroding the trade networks of England and France as means of gaining a stronger position in the international economy. It suggests that Jefferson’s use of commerce as a tool of foreign policy was not related to pacifism and diplomacy, but rather an extra arm of defence on the world stage. It provides a thorough exploration of Jefferson’s political and economic motives for the war, and in doing so compares Jefferson’s speeches to the language of Realpolitik. It also explores the advocacy of economic warfare; and details the feud between Jefferson and Hamilton concerning British rule. It concludes that the Tripolitanian War can be considered a component of a larger geopolitical strategy to defend and advance the political and economic interests of America. It also asserts that historians should treat this war within the nineteenth-century political sphere, and refrain from making comparisons to twenty-first century American foreign policy.

Keywords:   Nineteenth Century Foreign Policy, American Diplomacy, Realpolitik, Thomas Jefferson, Maritime Warfare, Economic Warfare

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