The hiring of privateers caused “a small war” so I don’t believe it’s fair to answer on how it didn’t set nations to war against each other, however, at first, it’s easy to be surprised it wasn’t an all-out war (Naden, 2007). Under further review, it’s crucial to consider the conditions of the time. The conditions for war were less than ideal, “the United States’ credit was in shambles, its war debts unpaid, so it could not afford much” (Ripper, 2008).
Without money or support from other nations because the United States had recently tapped into the wells of other countries and not replenished them from the American Revolution that only ended a year prior it explains why there wasn’t a huge war. Even though it was a small war “America’s conflict with the Barbary pirates was nevertheless significant.” Thomas Jefferson identified the significance of the small war and what it had cost the nation.
“The nation had paid an amount roughly equivalent to one-fifth of its annual income to the Barbary pirates” (Naden, 2007). Not only did the war cause financial strain but also years of men’s lives or parts of their lives who were captured and held for ransom. With these sacrifices, you may ask why did the nation not go into full-on war if these privateers were draining America’s bank accounts and abduct the citizens? Well many political leaders and people agreeing that “tributes were a cheaper price to pay for commerce than navies and war” (Ripper, 2008).
Both sides had valuable points given cumstances that the one war had just ended and who wants to jump into another one, and then the other side that America was being stolen from and it would only persist if they weren’t shown any blowback. Personally, I would have sided with Jefferson on this one because one-fifth of its annual income is a huge number and would never be accepted today, not to mention what would stop them from asking for more if they just kept paying them.