Force Authorized To Protect Shipping Vessels

1798

President John Adams, on May 28, 1798, instructs commanders of U.S. military vessels to capture French armed vessels suspected of attacking American merchant vessels or of planning such attacks. On July 9, 1798, Congress authorizes the president to command U.S. military ships to take “any armed French vessel, which shall be found within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, or elsewhere, on the high seas.” The actions are part of what become known as an undeclared war with France, the Quasi-War. The maritime conflict expedites creation of the Department of Navy on April 30, 1798.