In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rhman Adja, the "Dey of Algiers" ambassador to Britain. During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey's ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts. In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."
As the United States did not have a navy and did not offer tribute, American merchant ships suffered from the hands of the Barbary Pirates - Corsairs, as the pirates from these states were known, in the years after the War of Independence. In 1793, in the last three months of that year eleven American ships were seized. Unable to raise funds to pay the ransom for the crews, the American negotiator was compelled to borrow from a Jewish moneylender living in Algiers to pay the nearly million-dollar ransom. For the following 15 years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages.
The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800.
In 1808 - Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror. In May of 1801, the Corsairs (Muslims) of Tripoli became restless and declared war on the United States, figuring they could increase their annual tribute. Not long after Jefferson's inauguration as president, he dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress. Declaring that America was going to spend "millions for defense but not one cent for tribute," Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying America Marines and many of America's best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast.
In 1805 American Marines marched across the desert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all American slaves. During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary states, crumbling as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore raids by Marines, finally officially agreed to abandon slavery and piracy. Jefferson's victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli." It wasn't until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates - and yet in this year of 2014 this battle is yet flagrant once more.