Middle East How the Founding Fathers grappled with hostage ransom demands

The debate over the US government refusal to pay ransoms to kidnappers, including the captors of James Foley, has a long history. In the late 1700s, the US fought Barbary pirates who demanded ransoms and tributes.

By , Staff writer

MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh/AP

The US debate over paying ransoms to kidnappers – revived by the murder of freelance journalist James Foley – isn't a new one. America's Founding Fathers were also preoccupied by the issue while confronting "unconventional foes" on the high seas.