RT Book, Whole DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 29878199 LA English T1 The crescent obscured : the United States and the Muslim world, 1776-1815 A1 Allison, Robert J., PB Oxford University Press PP New York YR 1995 SN 0195086120 9780195086126 AB From the beginning of the colonial period to the recent conflicts in the Middle East, encounters with the Muslim world have helped Americans to define national identity and purpose. Looking at the early years of the republic, Robert Allison traces the image of Islam in the American mind as the new nation constructed its ideology and system of government. Allison begins with Americans' first contacts with the Muslim world in the Barbary states of North Africa. In 1785 Algiers seized two American merchant vessels, and by 1815 some six hundred Americans would be held captive in the Muslim world. No longer protected by the British navy, captive American sailors languished in Algiers while their government debated what action to take. Allison examines the responsibility the U.S. government felt it had to its citizens, the role private citizens had in directing international policy, and what captivity meant to the captives as well as to their compatriots at home. The American war with Tripoli ended with Americans believing they had overcome the menace of despotism and freed themselves from the fate of other nations. With this came a new sense of national purpose which manifested itself in paintings, poetry, drama, and politics. Examining the literature and histories of the period, Allison considers Americans' visions of Muhammed, as well as the differences in ideas of political power, gender relations, and slavery.