→United States ships lost protection of British navy after Revolution
====United States ships lost protection of British navy after Revolution====
Prior to independence, American colonists had enjoyed the protection of the British Navy. However, once the United States declared independence, British diplomats were quick to inform the Barbary States that U.S. ships were open to attack. In 1785, Dey Muhammad of Algiers declared war on the United States and captured several American ships. The financially troubled Confederation Government of the United States was unable to raise a navy or the tribute that would protect U.S. ships.
In contrast to the dispute with Algiers, U.S. negotiations with Morocco went well. Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad had seized a U.S. merchant ship in 1784 after the United States had ignored diplomatic overtures. However, Muhammad ultimately followed a policy of peaceful trade, and the United States successfully concluded a treaty with Morocco in 1786. However, Congress was still unable to raise enough funds to satisfy the Dey of Algiers.
====Jefferson seeks to find allies to defeat Algiers====
In an attempt to address the challenge posed by the Dey of Algiers, Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. Minister to France, attempted to build a coalition of weaker naval powers to defeat Algiers, but was unsuccessful. However, the Kingdom of Portugal was also at war with Algiers, and blocked Algerian ships from sailing past the Straits of Gibraltar. As a result, U.S. merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean remained safe for a time and temporarily relieved the U.S. Government from the challenges posed by the Barbary States.