Why Do Stockton U. “Historians” Ignore, Distort Story of NJ’s Richard Somers?

Here’s just one of many “inconvenient” details that explain why.

These Barbary “pirates” were in fact “corsairs” (privateers) with licenses to attack unarmed merchant ships under International Law.

On September 4, 1804, 26 year old Richard Somers of Somers Point was killed in Tripoli, North Africa. Somers and all 13 men aboard The Intrepid died fighting the same enemies we are at war with today.   However, anyone who names or accurately describes those enemies is banned from most “mainstream” schools, colleges, and other public forums.

During the next week, we will teach untold details of the Richard Somers story that explain why.   Please support our efforts.   Please attend our ceremony at the Richard Somers monument and mural at 4pm this Wednesday, September 4. They are next to the library at 801 Shore Road, Somers Point, NJ 08244. Then please help us pay expenses by supporting our fundraising, cash-bar buffet at nearby Gregory’s immediately afterwards.   Details at LibertyAndProsperity.com.   Thanks.

Most “mainstream” textbooks and historians say Somers died fighting in the “Barbary Wars”. They describe our enemies as “Barbary Pirates” in isolated parts of North Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. They explain that they attacked our unarmed merchant ships, stole their cargoes, and sold their crews and passengers into slavery or held them as hostages for ransom out of convenience or economic necessity.

However, they were not pirates under International Law. They were not put on trial and put to death if captured and convicted. They were instead held as prisoners of war. They were “corsairs” (privateers) with licenses to do what they did under International Law.   They worked for nations that had declared war on America. Those nations were Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli (now Libya) on the Barbary Coast of North Africa by the Mediterranean Sea.   They all pledged allegiance to the Turkish (Ottoman) Sultan who was the Caliph or ruler of the entire Islamic world.

During the 1500’s, the Turks (Ottomans) took control of the “Caliphate” and replaced the Arabs as rulers of the Islamic world.   The Turks lost that power in 1919 after their defeat in World War One. Recep Erdogan, the President of modern Turkey has been trying to win back that power during the past 20 years.  The Shiite regime of Farsi (Persian) Iran and Arabs led by the Saudi Family are also fighting for that control.

Why did those four kingdoms declare war on the United States the minute England recognized our independence in 1783?   Thomas Jefferson, our Ambassador to France, and John Adams, our Ambassador to England both asked that very question when they met the ambassador for Tripoli in London on March 26, 1786. In their words:

“We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretentions to make war upon Nations who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.”

This is what Jefferson and Adams were told:

From Official U.S. State Department Archives.

“The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet. That it was written in their Koran, 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 Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

Whose handwriting?  Thomas Jefferson’s or John Adams?

“That it was a law that the first who boarded an Enemy’s Vessell should have one slave more than his share with the rest, which operated as an incentive to the most desperate Valour and Enterprise, that it was the Practice of their Corsairs (Privateers) to bear down upon a ship, for each sailor to take a dagger in each hand and another in his mouth, and leap on board, which so terrified their Enemies that very few ever stood against them. That he verily believed the Devil assisted his Countrymen, for they were almost always successful”.

Both Jefferson and Adams were shocked and angry at what they heard. Jefferson immediately purchased an English translation of the Koran for his library. Both urged Congress to create a navy to defend American ships.

However Congress decided it was cheaper to do what the Europeans were doing. Congress agreed to pay bribes or “tribute” to the Barbary Kingdoms to stop attacking American ships. They also paid ransom to buy back Americans already captured.   For the next 15 years, roughly 10% of the federal budget was paid to the Barbary Kingdoms. (Before 1788, America had no Constitution, no President, and now Congress with power to raise money from taxes other than tariffs.)

The bribes, tribute, and ransom we and other nations paid made the Barbary Kingdoms stronger and more demanding. They used much of that money to buy faster ships and more modern weapons. It also encouraged French pirates to attack Americans in the Caribbean. By 1798, Americans had enough.  We shouted “Millions for defense.  Not one cent for tribute”.  And that’s exactly what we did.

At 4pm on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, we will share many “inconvenient” details of the Richard Somers story here, beneath the historically accurate mural painted by local artist Maryann Cannon four years ago.  The Richard Somers Park is next to the library at 801 Shore Road in Somers Point, NJ  08244.  We also invite you to the cash-bar fundraising buffet at nearby Gregory’s immediately after the ceremony.

We stopped paying bribes and tribute.   We used the money to build a new navy instead. Richard Somers of Somers Point was one of the first to join at age 20.

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