Purdue University Graduate School

American Tars in Barbary: Realizing American Independence on the World Stage

Reason: Pending publication

American Tars in Barbary: Realizing American Independence on the World Stage, 1784-1816

posted on 2021-04-16, 15:10 authored by John McLain ChamberlinJohn McLain Chamberlin
This dissertation provides the first examination of American interaction with the North African polities known as the Barbary States and with European countries on Barbary issues from the perspective of United States’ efforts to assert viability and reliability as a sovereign nation within the European nation-state system. This project shows the significance of these interactions in answering the question of how the United States became a player on the international stage. Barbary issues were influential in terms of the United States moving from Europe’s periphery to becoming a power within the European international system of sovereign nations bound together by the law of nations and networks of treaties. Independent America’s initial interactions with North African powers were generally either ineffective or dependent on the intervention of one or more European states. By the time of the Tripolitan War (1801-1805), the United States was both acting and being treated as a minor power within the “republic of nations.” By the time of the so-called Second Barbary War campaign of 1815, the United States was able to act as a significant player within that system.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • History

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. T. Cole Jones

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. John Larson

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. David Atkinson

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Jonathan Lande