Friday, December 6, 2013, 4 - 6 pm

Duke University • East Campus • Carr Building •  Boyd Seminar Room

Thomas Sheppard (UNC-Chapel Hill)

“To Make an Impression of Our National Character":
Civil-Military Relations and the Tripolitan War, 1801-1805

From 1801-1805, the United States waged a costly and only partially successful war with Tripoli. While the United States fought the Tripolitan War in large measure to redeem its national honor, naval officers routinely took actions in defense of their personal honor that hindered the war effort. Young midshipmen and lieutenants slew each other in duels over trifling causes, while senior officers put the service at risk in vicious quarrels over relative rank and perceived insults. Officers of the early United States Navy, while they valued the ideals of subordination, civilian control, and duty, often proved unwilling to submit to orders they feared would damage their reputations.

Thomas Sheppard is a PhD candidate in History at the University of North Carolina. He was awarded a 2013-2014 Smith-Richardson Pre-doctoral Fellowship at Yale University and currently resides in New Haven, Connecticut. His research focuses on civil-military relations in the early U.S. Navy.

Co-sponsored by the Triangle Institute for Security Studies