Treaty of Tripoli

Adullam Films’ 2010 production states that, “During the presidency of John Adams the Treaty of Tripoli was signed. The Treaty of Tripoli bears perhaps the most contrary statement against the idea of the United States as a Christian nation: ‘That the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion. Treaty of Tripoli, June 7, 1797.’ And the Treaty of Tripoli is the clearest declaration that the original founders of the United States of America did not believe that they were setting forth a Christian nation…”
Is this a fact?

The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, was signed at Tripoli on November 4th, 1796; and at Algiers, on January 3, 1797. According to the National Archives’ records,* Article 11, from which the above-cited statement is derived, does not exist. Of the 12 Articles in the Tripoli Treaty, this statement is found in the 11th Article:

“This translation from the Arabic by Joel Barlow, Consul General at Algiers, has been printed in all official and unofficial treaty collections since it first appeared in 1797 in the Session Laws of the Fifth Congress, first session. In a ‘Note regarding the Barlow translation:’ ‘…Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, – the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion – does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form of a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point.”*

As Article 11 of the Tripoli Treaty does not exist, we again see an agenda to discredit John Adams’ Protestant Christian faith and his public stand for the Christian religion – the 1780 Constitution of Massachusetts, testifying against Adullam Films’ statement.

* Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949. Department of State, Washington, D.C.

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