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In the early 1800s, a debate festered in our young democracy over the appropriate response to pirates operating from Africa’s Barbary Coast and attacking American ships, destroying or capturing them and impressing our sailors into lengthy terms of slavery. Their release was only obtained after a hefty ransom was paid by the U.S. government. After many years of paying the demanded ransoms, at the direction of President Jefferson, America’s fledgling Navy and a Marine expeditionary force executed a bold raid on Tripoli that eventually ended the pirate threat.

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