The Treaty of Tripoli

In the late 1790s the US was having difficulty with Muslim pirates in the waters off Northern Africa.  After some difficulty, a treaty was signed in 1796 with the Bey of Tripoli promising friendship, trade and an end to hostilities.  The 11th article of the treaty provides a remarkable contrast between how these sorts of issues were handled by the founders and how they are handled today.  It reads:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense
founded on the Christian Religion; as it has in itself no character of
enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen; and as
the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility
against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no
pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an
interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The Treaty was read aloud in the Senate and approved unanimously.  In his proclamation John Adams said, "I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen
and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice consent of
the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and
article thereof."  The treaty was published in a number of leading newspapers.  It never aroused any opposition.


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