From the 16th to 19th century, Muslim corsairs from North Africa captured an estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people as slaves. The effects of the Barbary raids peaked in the early to mid-17th century. In 1806 Newly elected American President Thomas Jefferson confronted the Muslims of North Africa who had captured ships, enslaved the people and demanded ransom. Thomas Jefferson sent the American Navy after them in 1801 and they were subdued. Many books have been written with details of that war.

Kipling wrote:
“It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbor and to say:—
“We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
Kipling runs briskly through the stages of humiliation undergone by any power that falls for this appeasement, and concludes:

It is wrong to put temptation in the pathof any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:—

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”
It may be fortunate that the United States had to pass this test, and imbibe this lesson, so early in its life as a nation.

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