Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Quasi-War

USS Constellation versus La Vengeance
The USS Constellation vs La Vengeance, or the Action of 1 February 1800, was a single-ship action fought between frigates of the French Navy and the United States Navy during the Quasi-War. The battle resulted in the American frigate USS Constellation severely damaging the French frigate La Vengeance and forcing her to flee. - Wikipedia
The Quasi-War (French: Quasi-guerre) was an undeclared war fought mostly at sea between the United States and the French Republic from 1798 to 1800. In the United States, the conflict was sometimes also referred to as the Undeclared War With France, the Pirate Wars and the Half-War.- Also Wikipedia

Very few people know that we fought a war with the French. After the French Revolution had settled down, the French government wanted the loans made to the United States during our own revolution repaid.

The U.S. government felt that those loans were owed to the French crown. A certain Louis XVI to be exact. He was no longer alive, having been executed by his no longer loyal subjects in 1793. So our view was "Sorry Pierre, we don't owe you anything." (Isn't fascinating to learn that our politicians were every bit as dishonorable back then as they are now?)

Of course, looking back at it, I feel we should have paid the French what we owed them for the help they provided us during our Revolution. Then again, we did come to the rescue (so to speak) in 1917 and again in 1944. So there is that.

But we should always remember, countries don't have friends, just interests. Lord Palmerston (1784 - 1865) who served as British Prime Minister twice said that. He was a politician. You know my feelings about politicians.

Oh well.

C'est la guerre!

As for me, I'll raise a glass for the crews of the Constellation and La Vengeance today. Men who did their duty so the politicians didn't have to. Seems to be the way it always is...

12 comments:

  1. "Oh well."

    That always works for me.
    So does C'est la guerre!.

    It seems really amazing we haven't had a few more tiffs with the French.

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    1. Yeah... "Oh well." just HAS to be my favorite saying. Especially lately.

      Interesting bit of history, this. Wait for it... I had no ideer!

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    2. OK, I give up, Even Mighty Google fails me. ICSFTH?

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    3. Ah, you didn't check The Acronym Page? Tsk, tsk. (I had to double check that I had put it there at some time in the past.)

      ICSFTH = Insert cloying smiley face thingee here. It's something The Snake Eater would chime in with from time to time over at Lex's place. Now Buck likes to use it too!

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  2. They never taught us that one.thx!

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  3. I learned about it in school.................
    In Canada.

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  4. And you can STILL go walk the decks of the USS Constitution!!! :-)

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    Replies
    1. That too.

      (Boston for the Constitution, Baltimore for the Constellation. Have you read Six Frigates yet? I highly recommend it!)

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