Before the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution, the establishment
of a permanent military became the most divisive issue facing the
new government. The founders particularly Jefferson, Madison, and
Adams debated fiercely. Would a standing army be the thin end of
dictatorship? Would a navy protect from pirates or drain the
treasury and provoke hostility? Britain alone had hundreds of
From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the
cliff-hanger campaign against Tripoli, to the war that shook the
world in 1812, Ian W. Toll tells this grand tale with the political
insight of Founding Brothers and the narrative flair of Patrick
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