Lead: Among the most distinguished early U.S. Naval officers, Stephen Decatur displayed courage under fire and political astuteness that, save for his death by duel, marked him for high office, perhaps even the highest.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Decatur was born in Maryland during the Revolution and educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He first came to national attention during the War with Tripoli. President Jefferson had ordered the U.S. warships into the Mediterranean to get at the pirates who were raiding U.S. ships from bases in the so-called Barbary states, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania.