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Patriot pirates: the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution

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They were legalized pirates empowered by the Continental Congress to raid and plunder, at their own considerable risk, as much enemy trade as they could successfully haul back to America’s shores; they played a central role in American’s struggle for independence and later turned their seafaring talents to the slave trade; embodying the conflict between enterprise and morality central to the American psyche. In Patriot Pirates, Robert H. Patton, grandson of the battlefield genius of World War II, writes that during America’s Revolutionary War, what began in 1775 as a New England fad--converting civilian vessels to fast-sailing warships, and defying the Royal Navy’s overwhelming firepower to snatch its merchant shipping--became a massive seaborne insurgency that ravaged the British economy and helped to win America’s independence. More than two thousand privately owned warships were commissioned by Congress to prey on enemy transports, seize them by force, and sell the cargoes for prize money to be divided among the privateer’s officers, crewmen, and owners.Patton writes how privateering engaged all levels of Revolutionary life, from the dockyards to the assembly halls; how it gave rise to an often cutthroat network of agents who sold captured goods and sparked wild speculation in purchased shares in privateer ventures, enabling sailors to make more money in a month than they might otherwise earn in a year. As one naval historian has observed, “The great battles of the American Revolution were fought on land, but independence was won at sea.”Benjamin Franklin, then serving at his diplomatic post in Paris, secretly encouraged the sale of captured goods in France, a calculated violation of neutrality agreements between France and Britain, in the hopes that the two countries would come to blows and help take the pressure off American fighters.Patton writes about those whose aggressive speculation in privateering promoted the war effort: Robert Morris--a financier of the Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress who helped to fund George Washington’s army, later tried (and acquitted) for corruption when his deals with foreign merchants and privateers came to light, and emerged from the war as one of America’s wealthiest men . . . William Bingham… John R. Livingston--scion of a well-connected New York family who made no apologies for exploiting the war for profit, calling it “a means of making my fortune.” He worried that peace would break out too soon. (“If it takes place without a proper warning,” said Livingston, “it may ruin us.”) Vast fortunes made through privateering survive to this day, among them those of the Peabodys, Cabots, and Lowell's of Massachusetts, and the Derbys and Browns of Rhode Island.A revelation of America’s War of Independence, a sweeping tale of maritime rebel-entrepreneurs bent on personal profit as well as national freedom.
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9780375422843
9781400126606
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Grouped Work ID 0678b138-df65-8fa9-4619-e30bde87bd2e
full_title patriot pirates the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the american revolution
author patton robert h
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-04-25 05:31:52AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Sklar, Alan.
author Robert H. Patton
author-letter Patton, Robert H.
author2 Sklar, Alan., hoopla digital.
author2-role Sklar, Alan.|Narrator, hoopla digital.
author_additional Robert H. Patton.
author_display Patton, Robert H
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collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
date_added 2009-11-09T05:00:00Z
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display_description

They were legalized pirates empowered by the Continental Congress to raid and plunder, at their own considerable risk, as much enemy trade as they could successfully haul back to America’s shores. They played a decisive role in America’s struggle for independence and later turned their seafaring talents to the slave trade, revealing the conflict between enterprise and morality central to American history.

In Patriot Pirates, Robert H. Patton, the grandson of the battlefield genius of World War II, writes how privateering engaged all levels of Revolutionary life, from the dockyards to the assembly halls; how it gave rise to wild speculation in purchased shares in privateer ventures, enabling sailors to make more money in a month than they might earn in a year; and how privateering created fortunes that survive to this day.

As one naval historian wrote, “The great battles of the American Revolution were fought on land, but independence was won at sea.”

Patton writes how, in addition to its strategic and economic importance, privateering played a large political role in the Revolution. For example, Benjamin Franklin, from his diplomatic post in Paris, secretly encouraged skippers to sell their captured goods in French ports - a calculated effort on Franklin’s part to break the neutrality agreements between France and Britain, bring the two countries to blows, and take the pressure off American fighters.

This is a sweeping tale of maritime rebel-entrepreneurs bent on personal profit and national freedom.

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oclc (OCoLC)165957643
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Arlington Public Library Online, Aurora Hills, Aurora Hills Online, Central, Central Online, Cherrydale, Cherrydale Online, Columbia Pike, Columbia Pike Online, Connection Crystal City, Connection Crystal City Online, Detention Center, Detention Center Online, Glencarlyn, Glencarlyn Online, Local History, Local History Online, Plaza, Plaza Online, Shirlington, Shirlington Online, Westover, Westover Online
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (10hr., 30 min.)) : digital., xxii, 291 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
popularity 3
primary_isbn 9780375422843
publishDate 2008
publishDateSort 2008
publisher Pantheon Books,, Tantor Media
rating 2.5
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subject_facet France -- Foreign relations -- United States, Privateering -- United States -- History -- 18th century, United States -- Foreign relations -- France, United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Naval operations
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Patriot pirates : the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution
title_alt Privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution.
title_display Patriot pirates : the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution
title_full Patriot Pirates The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution, Patriot pirates : the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution / Robert H. Patton, Patriot pirates [electronic resource] : the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution / Robert H. Patton
title_short Patriot pirates :
title_sort patriot pirates the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the american revolution
title_sub the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution
topic History, Nonfiction
topic_facet History, Nonfiction