The Provision of Naval Defense in the Early American Republic
A Comparison of the U.S. Navy and Privateers, 17891815
By Nicholas J. Ross
The United States relied heavily on public provision of naval defense during the Barbary Pirate Wars and the Quasi-War with France but relied more heavily on privateers to provide naval defense during the War of 1812. Although privateers were limited to conducting raids against commercial vessels, their funding had the advantage of not requiring higher levels of taxation and public debt.