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The history of America's conflict with the piratical states of the Mediterranean runs through the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison; the adoption of the Constitution; the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812; the construction of a full-time professional navy; and, most important, the nation's haltering steps toward commercial independence. Frank Lambert's genius is to see in the Barbary Wars the ideal means of capturing the new nation's shaky emergence in the complex context of the Atlantic world. Depicting a time when Britain ruled the seas and France most of Europe, The Barbary Wars proves America's earliest conflict with the Arabic world was always a struggle for economic advantage rather than any clash of cultures or religions.
Frank Lambert teaches history at Purdue University and is the author of The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America, Inventing the Great Awakening, and Pedlar in Divinity: George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737 1770.