Those Pirates and Muslim Barbarians: The American Public View of the Barbary Nations and the United States Participation in the Barbary War


  • Kate Page Wichita State University


Barbary Nationss, Barbary Wars, United States Marine Corp, United States Navy, military historiography, Islamophobia, Islamophobic propaganda


Although the Marine Anthem is sung quite often throughout the country, relatively few know the extent of its history or the meaning of the phrase, "from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli." In the early 1800s the United States was at war with the Barbary Nations in what would come to be known as the Barbary Wars. The American public glorified the United States and made the Barbary nations into an evil enemy. The historiography of the Barbary Wars tends to be written from a diplomatic or military approach, and understandably so. The fight against these North African pirates afforded some of the earliest and most celebrated actions of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. This combat also began a long and ongoing U.S. military presence in the Middle East, and the American public's interest in the greater Islamic world. Little has been written, though, on the new nation's reaction to the war. This article will address the American people's reaction to the United States dealing with the Barbary Nations.