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This was the United States first Naval engagement since the Revolutionary war. Initially the main drawback was that the United States did not actually happen to have a Navy, as the original one had been disbanded as an act of peace. When Thomas Jefferson was elected President, one of the first things his administration found out, was that the US Government was still paying off the Pirates of the Barbary Coast of the Mediterranean Sea in order to have American Merchant Vessels be left alone. Interpreting that to be the equivalent of paying tribute to a band of bandits, Jefferson had the payments cut off, and their representative, the Dey of Tripoli was so informed. On May 14, 1801, as a declaration of war, the Dey of Tripoli chopped down the flagpole of the United States Consulate. Immediately, the US Merchant Marine was treated as fair game for piracy, while President Jefferson went through the process of building a new Navy.

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