It is a huge stretch to suggest that Jefferson was even remotely interested in getting into the mind of the enemy by reading the Koran. It is far more likely that he wasn’t even spending alot of time thinking about it.
After being sent back from failed negotiations with the Bey of Tripoli about paying tribute for enslaved US Navy Sailors, William Eaton sort of brow beat Jefferson into awarding him a commision as the US Naval agent to the Barbary States. With this commision came a clandestine mission to ‘take advantage of civil unrest’ in order to win a more favorable arrangement that did not involve tribute. Jefferson also dispatched Commodore James Barron to blockade the port, as well as the hapless diplomat Tobias Lear to negotiate a treaty that didn’t involve tribute.
During the execution portion of this operation, Commodore Barron had a limited amount of funds and forces to prosecute his blockade and Tobias Lear wandered the Mediteranean with his wife on vacation before even arriving in Tripoli. Eaton was sent across war torn Egypt/ Africa in search of Hamet Karamanli, the deposed ruler of Tripoli, with 8 marines, a small amount of money, and a fistful of correspondance. These are certainly not the wartime actions of a president so focused on a war that he read the Koran to gain insight into Yusef Bashaw. These are closer to the actions of a president who was interested in expanding the country, and building gunboats in favor of a strong navy.
Also, I read your article and would like to point out that in the end we ended up paying millions for peace. Beyond the $60 thousand, Lear distributed a large amount in personal ‘gifts’.
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