“1805 Treaty with Tripoli”

From: (name withheld)
Date: August 14, 2018 at 8:02:49 PM MDT
You have conveniently left out the 1805 Treaty of Peace & Amnity, which superseded the Treaty of Tripoli:
“A second treaty, the Treaty of Peace and Amity signed on July 4, 1805, superseded the 1796 treaty. The 1805 treaty did not contain the phrase “not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
So the entire premise of your organization is based on a falsehood.

Response from MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda
On Aug 14, 2018, 10:35 PM, Chris Rodda wrote:
(name withheld) …

You really shouldn’t copy and paste your historical information from Christian nationalist websites.

Yes, there was a new treaty with Tripoli in 1805. But, no, there is nothing significant about its not containing the same language as the previous treaty.

Yes, the history revisionists like to claim that the absence in the 1805 treaty of the words “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” from Article 11 of the 1797 treaty means that these words were somehow deliberately and purposefully “revoked” by the 1805 treaty, but that was simply not the case.

The reason for the 1805 treaty not containing the same wording regarding religion as the 1797 treaty is that the events that occurred between 1797 and 1805 made it necessary to rewrite that article for reasons that had nothing to do with religion.

Only seven of the twelve articles of the 1797 treaty could be copied into the new twenty-article 1805 treaty without being rewritten. And one of the articles that could not be copied into the new treaty as written was Article 11. Why? Because that article, besides including the ‘not a Christian nation’ line, had also said that the United States had never “entered into any voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mohametan nation.” While this had been true when the 1797 treaty was written, it was no longer true in 1805 when the new treaty was written. As of 1805 the United States had been at war with Tripoli — you know, the war that this 1805 treaty was written to end.

And if, perchance, you don’t happen to know about the war that this 1805 treaty was written to end, you might want to crack open a history book instead spending your time emailing us with copy-and-paste history from revisionist websites and thinking you’ve made some kind of brilliant argument.

Anyway, getting back to our story, when the 1805 treaty was written — with us having been at war and all — it needed to be added to what had been in Article 11 of the 1797 treaty that there had now been an exception to the United States never having been at war with a Muslim nation, which had been this war to defend the right to navigate the high seas. And, in rewriting that sentence, Tobias Lear didn’t happen to include the “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” phrase. But there is nothing significant about this at all. He could have left it out for no more reason than that with what was being added it made the sentence too long. It wasn’t some deliberate removal of those words because they were being revoked, as the history revisionist sites like the one you apparently must have been reading like to claim.

And, what is actually more significant than what was left out is what was added regarding religion — a religious freedom clause for the agents of both countries. The 1797 treaty had only guaranteed that there would be no hostility between the two governments because of religious opinions. But the new article (which became Article 14 in the 1805 treaty) also guaranteed the right of the individuals of both countries to practice their respective religions. The end result of these changes was the following sentence that appeared in Article 14 of the 1805 treaty:

As the Government of the United States of America, 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 voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mahometan Nation, except in the defence of their just rights to freely navigate the High Seas: It is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from Religious Opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the Harmony existing between the two Nations; And the Consuls and Agents of both Nations respectively, shall have liberty to exercise his Religion in his own house; all slaves of the same Religion shall not be Impeded in going to said Consuls house at hours of Prayer.

So, [name withheld], you have in no way proven with your copy-and-paste tidbit of history that the entire premise of our organization — which doesn’t rely on the Treaty of Tripoli to begin with, but on the Constitution of the United States — is based on a falsehood.

Thanks for playing.

Chris Rodda
Senior Research Director
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
(and author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History)

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  1. Ariel Thomann

    Nicely done, Chris. You might have added that the 1797 Treaty was negotiated initially under Washington, and was signed by Adams after it had been endorsed UNANIMOUSLY by the U.S. Senate. It was NOT the whim of some anonymous anti-Christian bureaucrat. True, there is a question of whether the Arabic version had a different Article 11 – which arguably is irrelevant since for U.S. ‘domestic consumption’ what counts is what the Senate approved and Adams signed.

  2. Tom O

    Another example of how today’s theocrats twist themselves into rhetorical knots trying to support their ridiculous claims that in 1797 the US was even more theocratic than it’s ever been since then, while ignoring the obvious (to non-theocrats) implication of their inability to find (other than ONE newspaper editorial) any contemporary public objection to Article 11. The people who supposedly set up the US government as a Christian organization and were still running it in 1797 had no public objection to the US government officially stating “the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” Can you imagine what a national outcry there would be from the theocrats if the current US government even considered officially stating that “the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion”?
    It amazes me how these people get so accustomed to having their assertions blindly accepted as fact that the whole concept of critical thinking barely exists for them.

  3. Stephen

    The United States was founded upon three documents. These are the Declaration of Independence, the 1783 Treaty of Paris and the Constitution. The preamble of the 1783 Treaty is mentioned below.

    Last page of the Treaty of Paris

    Map of the United States and territories after the Treaty of Paris
    This treaty and the separate peace treaties between Great Britain and the nations that supported the American cause — France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic — are known collectively as the Peace of Paris.[3][4] Only Article 1 of the treaty, which acknowledges the United States’ existence as free sovereign and independent states, remains in force.[5] The borders of the USA changed in later years, which is a major reason for specific articles of the treaty to be superseded.

    Preamble. Declares the treaty to be “in the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (followed by a reference to the Divine Providence)[14] states the bona fides of the signatories, and declares the intention of both parties to “forget all past misunderstandings and differences” and “secure to both perpetual peace and harmony”.
    1.Britain acknowledges the United States (New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia[15]) to be free, sovereign, and independent states, and that the British Crown and all heirs and successors relinquish claims to the Government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof;
    2.Establishing the boundaries of the United States, including but not limited to those between the United States and British North America;
    3.Granting fishing rights to United States fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence;
    4.Recognizing the lawful contracted debts to be paid to creditors on either side;
    5.The Congress of the Confederation will “earnestly recommend” to state legislatures to recognize the rightful owners of all confiscated lands and “provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects” (Loyalists);
    6.United States will prevent future confiscations of the property of Loyalists;
    7.Prisoners of war on both sides are to be released; all property of the British army (including slaves) now in the United States is to remain and be forfeited;
    8.Great Britain and the United States are each to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River;
    9.Territories captured by Americans subsequent to the treaty will be returned without compensation;
    10.Ratification of the treaty is to occur within six months from its signing.

    Eschatocol. “Done at Paris, this third day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.”

  4. Grey One talks sass


    The straw you are clutching has been banned due to its harmful impact on the environment.

    By the way – the USA is a secular nation which a lot of Christians call home. It has never been a Christian nation.

    Back in the day when Christians overstepped boundaries (which was all the freaking time) it wasn’t viewed as such a big deal because Christians controlled everything. Today the rules apply because not everyone is Christian but everyone shares equal rights.

    Stephen, loss of privilege is not loss of rights. And, to be snarky, Christian Nationalists like yourself should be grateful I’m asking for equality going forward instead of Justice for a millenia of marginalized folks who were shoved into boxes and expected to stay out of sight.

  5. Stephen

    Grey One talks sass, you are the one who is being snarky. The information that I posted doesn’t say anything about a loss of privileges

  6. Tom O

    The information you posted doesn’t say anything about the topic of the original email either.

  7. Stephen

    Tom O, I was referring to the 4th comment. That is the original email. Although Grey One talks sass says that the U.S. was never a Christian nation, he’s wrong. The United States of America was founded as a indirect democracy or republic. The 1783 Treaty of Paris was done in the name of the Most Holy and undivided Trinity. That document officially ended the America Revolution. The concept of the Trinity is unique to the followers of Christ. Also, less than one hundred years later, there was a war over the issue of slavery. A song came about as a result. It is called the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This song also mentions Christ.

  8. Grey One talks sass

    Stephen – saying the nation is Christian because a treaty was signed using the vernacular of that day is grasping at wisps of nothing.

    If the founding fathers wanted an official religion they would have included it in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It’s telling you can’t point to a specific place – except for dates and boilerplate – that backs you up.

    And your last proof is a song? For reals?

    Hang it up, put a fork in it, put it to bed Stephen. You are done.

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