Talk:Quasi-War

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Different Statistics[edit]

Here is a passage from an AP high school textbook The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People Sixth Edition by Boyer, Clark, Kett, Salisbury, Sitkoff, and Woloch published by Houghton Mifflin Company Copyright 2008 "Congress responded to the XYZ Affair by arming fifty-four ships to protect American commerce. During an undeclared Fanco-American conflict in the Caribbean known as the Quasi-War (1798-1800), U.S. forces seized ninety-three French privateers while losing just one vessel." (Page 208) I know my citation is way off, but there is all the information if anybody would be kind enough to add it in after confirming validity. 69.204.25.225 (talk) 01:04, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure if a textbook is a valid reference. I find funny that both French and German Wikies report 22 French privateers captured as was before your editing. So I searched a bit.
  • Sailor's History of the United States Navy - Page 4 cite "Nearly eighty French privateers were captured during the Quasi-War"
  • Sea power: a naval history - By Elmer Belmont Potter, Roger Fredland, Henry Hitch Adams - Page 98 cite "more than 80 French vessels"
  • A sketch of the claims of sundry American citizens on the Government of the ...- By James H. "27th For damages sustained by French citizens, the owner of eighty-one privateers, captured by the United States vessels, during the quasi war and condemned."
Can anyone maybe, with a better knowledge of the historic period, explain and possibly correct the article?

(I didn't check the other information cited by User: 69.204.25.225) --Dia^ (talk) 07:28, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Added a Title to Further Reading[edit]

I added Frederick Leiner's book Millions for Defense: The Subscription Warships of 1798 to the Further Reading list. I just finished the book tonight, and I thought it covered this aspect of the Quasi War quite well, with a few minor exceptions. Bschulte 01:51, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


Page Remodel[edit]

I have changed the logistics outlay for the US Navy's ships involved to reflect a much more accurate representation. Likewise, I added all names with their corresponding rating. I intend to add much more in the near future to make this article much more in the way of substantive. All information for this update was taken from Wikipedia as well as "The US Navy: An Illustrated History" by Nathan Miller. Auror 02:30, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

ships involved in this war[edit]

any ideas where the number of US ships involved in this war (in the box) came from? I have included every ship in Category:Quasi-War American ships where the ship article said it was involved in the Quasi-War and there are a whole lot more than this box says. Thanks Hmains 02:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

incomplete article[edit]

actually this article is very incomplete. Reading the actions of the ships and people in Category:Quasi-War people and Category:Quasi-War American ships gives a much more complete picture of the war. Thanks Hmains 02:31, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.

Info Source[edit]

For those looking to add, there is some information in: The River Plate Voyages, 1798-1800 from The American Historical Review, Vol. 23, No. 4. (Jul., 1918), pp. 816-826. If you have JSTOR it is available there. Aboutmovies 22:06, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Missing Information[edit]

The article does not lose a single word about the US's refusal of paying back war debts to France on the spurios [sic] grounds the contracts were done with monarchial France and so no duty existed to pay back to revolutionary France.

Combatants[edit]

Does Great Britain count, since it operated as a de facto ally of America at this stage? Tourskin 00:40, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Enemy's enemy isn't quite the same thing as ally- Britain was similarly interfering with American trade, which would lead to the War of 1812 --68.227.223.133 (talk) 00:21, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Date of Beginning of Hostilities etc.[edit]

The previous edit stated: "The Quasi-War started on July 7, 1798, when Congress rescinded treaties with France. United States Naval squadrons then sought out and attacked the French privateers. Deeply infuriated with the U.S for their actions against France, the French Naval Commander Jean de Beaune counterattacked with the destruction of the USS Virginia. This ultimately led to a rise of national pride in the U.S as they sought to avenge those who had died in that battle. The U.S then retaliated with the killing of 25 French sailors aboard one of the French frigates that ran in between Quebec and the Country of France which led to the belief that it was the work of a Pirate Crew by the name of Genive."

In my modest but comprehensive library on the Quasi War, none make any mention of the above actions whatsoever. There is no Jean de Beaune and I know there was no USS Virginia on the Navy rolls at that time. It's clear that this was a case of clever vandalism that only someone intimately familiar with the conflict could have caught. I've also cleared up the date bit, especially as the whole "this was the beginning of the Quasi War" stick is quite nebuluous considering it was a war never declared. Any questions etc. drop me a note on my talk page. Auror 01:41, 7 July 2007 (UTC)


UPDATE - The edit which added the wrong information was done on 2 November by 204.185.19.191 who was going around vandalizing other pages. I wonder how many people have read that now thinking it was all true... Auror 01:49, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I admit I almost fell for it. Damn user. loser. Hah! A loser user on the loose. Tourskin 05:57, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

COMMENT - "one of the French frigates that ran in between Quebec and the Country of France..."

Clever? Uh ... why would French frigates be running between a British held Canadian city and France? (Anon. 3 Dec 2008)

Removal of NPOV tag[edit]

I removed the NPOV tag because there was no blatant discussion of it here. All that was mentioned was a small comment on the edit page ("piracy is not neutral!") while Wikimedia Standards clearly say that any disputes over neutrality need to be discussed on the TALK PAGE, and given fair time to be argued over.

T0m0thyxcore 10:02, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I didn't post the NPOV tag, but I've just read the article and agree that it is indeed very much non-neutral. For example, the sentance "However, even as a prisoner, the clever young American officer managed to serve his country" is inappopriate and obviously from a pro-American viewpoint. Furthermore there is nothing from the French perspective and the tone of the article is not neutral. The background section is not so bad other than the fact that it only presents the information from the American side. This is somewhat understandable as most of the writers here will only have access to Anglo-American sources. The Naval Engagements section, however, is blantatly non-neutral and needs to be improved. Djlayton4 | talk | contribs 14:15, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
As a young french scholar, I can say only one thing : from the french POV, this notion of "quasi-war" between USA and France is simply unknown! Who says "french bashing"?--78.113.116.64 21:16, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
As a young american scholar, I can say only one thing : from the american POV, this notion of "quasi-war" between France and the USA is simply unknown! Who says "american-bashing"?
The qualifications for notability do not include you (or anyone else) having personally heard of something. I haven't heard of it either, but that really doesn't matter; clearly, it did happen. "Quasi-war" is apparently an established name, regardless of whether or not it sounds funny. 70.112.248.146 03:16, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

i don't know much about the details of the naval engagements (which sound very "patriotico-epic" in the "More" chapter), but since i agree there is still only one pov, i may help at least mentioning several french pov for what is the cause of the quasi war : essentially lying within the paragraphs of the Jay treaty (felt like a stab in the back), for example the clause that every french product found in any u.s' vessels would be confiscated by the british...
...not to mention the fact that at this time it was just obviously natural for France that "sister Democracies" should stand together against the "tyranic monarchies"
...of course, no need to say that if i add anything, someone would have to correct my average english ! —Preceding unsigned comment added by So6sechs (talkcontribs) 20:53, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Some of the material on the naval battles can definately be reworded to be a little more neutral. However, there is a fundamental problem with balance on this topic that is going to be hard to rectify, because it derives from the available sources. Nearly every source I have ever read on this topic is focused on the American side of the war. The reason for this is quite simple. The Quasi-War was reasonably important in terms of the development of U.S. politics and the Federalist/Republican split, and very important in terms of the development of the U.S. navy, but to the French it was a relatively minor episode in the wars of the French revolution. Therefore almost nobody bothers to look at it from the French point of view. Rusty Cashman (talk) 07:46, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The sources of the "war" are very complex, rooted not just in the ostensible differences between the United States and republican France, but very much in American politics of the age. The Federalists were seen as pro-British (and monarchial by their opponents) and the Republicans (Jeffersonians) as isiding with Frenace in its war against the rest of Europe (and as wanting a Reign of Terror in both nations by their opponents). The antics and arrogance of Citizen Genet and Talleyrand added significant fuel to the fire. Personalities also played a significant role, as Hamilton in all manner abhorred the excesses of the French Revolution and saw Britain as necessary to the success of the embryonic US economy, while Jefferson hated all things British and condoned all things French, largely based on his experiences in the mid-1780s in both countries. Both Britain and France, for their parts, looked down on America as their inferior and therefore only good for submitting to their respective wills. There is a lot of noise about America refusing to pay back debt, which resulted largely from French efforts to bypass government and appeal directly to the American people, but little or nothing said about the 1778 Treaty, which the French tried to invoke to get US intervention on their side, but Washington and Adams both rebuked because they considered it aggression and not defense (since France declared war on the others). It's just a guess, but any discourse on "causes of the Quasi-war" merits an entire well-documented and balanced article of its own. Because there will be interminable POV wars thereafter. Good luck.--Reedmalloy (talk) 20:10, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Altered "Result" box[edit]

I have altered the result box from "End of French Revolutionary piracy" to "End of effective French revolutionary privateer attacks on American shipping". "Piracy" is both innacurate and inherently POV. As the rest of the article makes clear, the French ships were operating under letters of Marque from the French revolutionary government. While (as the article also makes clear, as does the linked article on Privateering) the line between Privateer and Pirate could and often was crossed, the two are not the same. A pirate was (and is) a criminal, a sea thief subject to capture and punishment, trial under criminal law (and at the time, capital punishment) by the ships and forces of any nation. Privateering was an internationally recognized form of warfare, privateers (as also noted) being subject to rules surrounding prisoners of war. To describe Privateering as piracy is anachronistic, and when applied to only 1 side in a conflict, POV. 12.215.65.5 17:25, 7 July 2007 (UTC)Ian

That is indeed a much better way of phrasing it. Cheers. Djlayton4 | talk | contribs 19:00, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
I dont disagree, but Citizen Genet arrived in America with loads of blank "letters of Marque", despite the fact that the US was not only not a combatant but had declared neutrality. It was, at the time, legal but was "polite" piracy and eventually became recognized as such. To declare privateering as legitimizing activities of one side of a conflict, without such balance, is also POV.--Reedmalloy (talk) 20:37, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Not quite, the US issued letters of Marque to its own merchant ships, allowing them to take Armed french vessels as prizes. Privateering has a long and distinct history, and is very different from piracy in many respects. The US navy executed pirates, it treated privateers as prisoners of war. Many of the American ships captured by the French while carrying english goods, and therefore were ordinarally good captures under the laws of the time. Despite that, many American ships not normally considered to be good prizes were taken by the French as well, the problem with calling it piracy is that these French siezures had the sanction of the French government through several decrees it issued. It should also be noted that not only did French privateers sieze american merchentmen, but French national vessels of the French Navy captured American merchentmen as well. It might also be interesting to note that the French siezures didnt entirely stop until 1813, thirteen years after the war ended!XavierGreen (talk) 04:13, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Translation into Chinese Wikipedia[edit]

The 00:57, 30 April 2009 69.239.23.145 version of this article is translated into Chinese Wikipedia.--Wing (talk) 21:59, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Franco-American War?[edit]

I have never heard this title before, it currently is not the most cited title. Quasi War is the most commonly cited title is literature to my knowlage. Can you get multiple sources citing this? I know the US government itself uses the term "Naval War with France". Im am going to redirect the page to Quasi War until you can provide citations and sufficent evidence for the term Franco-American War being used in scholarly subjects.67.84.178.0 (talk) 16:29, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Seems to fall a little short[edit]

The article seems to gloss over Alexander Hamilton and the move toward a standing Army in the US, as well as the impact of the conflict on the development of US coastal fortificaitons. Shoreranger (talk) 16:17, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Note that the commanders box shows John Adams, Paul Barras, and Napoleon, who were the heads of state of the USA and France during the conflict. Washington and Hamilton are listed on the american side, but no mention is made of them in the articel, and no French military commander is mentioned. jbarntt 14:04, 10 April 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jbarntt (talkcontribs)

Another thing. How was John Adams president and George Washington a general at the time?--Valkyrie Red (talk) 23:35, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

"Critical ally"[edit]

In the opening paragraph France is described as a critical ally of the USA during the war of independence. Does this mean ally of critical importance, or ally not afraid to criticise (akin to critical friend)? Perhaps better informed readers will know which is the correct meaning in context, but it struck me as potentially ambiguous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 147.188.155.114 (talk) 09:50, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

The former... AnonMoos (talk) 11:56, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney[edit]

I addded the name of the minister, and linked his article to this article. John5Russell3Finley (talk) 19:07, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

George Washington's involvement is in error.[edit]

It lists lt. gen george washington as one of the key players in the quasi-war. However, washington was already dead by that time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.81.184.125 (talk) 20:14, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Since there was no formal declaration of war, the exact date of the begining of the conflict is a matter of debate. There were a number of engagements between French privateers and American merchant vessels in 1796-1797 and the Revenue Cutter service and customs bureau siezed and arrested various French commisioned privateers that were fitting out of American ports. With the threat of a real declared war looming, the army was enlarged and George Washington was reactivated as a Lietanant General in the army. He died in 1799 after the American government formally authorized the navy to begin hostilities against hostile french ships and the war was in its second year.XavierGreen (talk) 04:24, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Infobox casulties[edit]

Should the infobox casulties include those mentioned in Action_of_1_January_1800? Iapetus (talk) 16:00, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Casualty figures for the French are generally not reported but easily number well over 500 with incidents i know of. Additionally American merchant marine casualties were much higher than us military casualties, the vast majority of combat incidents were actually between armed american merchant vessels and letters of marque against french privateers. These actions are extremely poorly recorded but from my research American battle deaths easily number in the hundreds (with the vast majority being merchant marines).XavierGreen (talk) 16:24, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

The last section, about modern significance, is one sided.[edit]

It mentions a controversy, promptly ignores the nature of that controversy, and recounts the view of one historian to 'solve' that controversy. Highly dubious. 60.242.48.18 (talk) 08:50, 11 September 2013 (UTC)