Analysis

America became disentangled from Old World affairs after the Second Barbary War and could now freely pursue its economic interests in the Mediterranean. Presidents from then on were expected to have an active foreign policy. The new freedom the United States had to move about in the world came from resorting to force to carry out the government’s will overseas when diplomacy failed to make progress. The First Barbary War was America’s first exclusively overseas war, and it showed the growing pains America experienced until a decade later when the United States scored a strong victory against Algiers in 1815 in the Second Barbary War, fresh off of the War of 1812.

The decision to fight the two Barbary Wars was one driven by the American national interest and evidence shows it was of dire concern to American policy makers. The decision to fight also meant the United States was ultimately bound to have an active foreign policy platform and be ready to act on it around the world. Once the ink dried on the 1815 peace treaty with Algiers, America  irrevocably became a member of a select group of nations which spoke as much from the muzzle of the cannon as at the negotiating table to safeguard its interests and demand respect in the world at large.