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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 ™ 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. From the Hardcover edition.
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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 2018-03-22 23:14:01PM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Sklar, Alan.
author Robert H. Patton
author2-role Sklar, Alan.|Narrator, hoopla digital.
author_display Patton, Robert H
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction

In this lively narrative history, Robert H. Patton, grandson of the World War II battlefield legend, tells a sweeping tale of courage, capitalism, naval warfare, and international political intrigue set on the high seas during the American Revolution. Patriot Pirates highlights the obscure but pivotal role played by colonial privateers in defeating Britain in the American Revolution. American privateering-essentially legalized piracy-began with a ragtag squadron of New England schooners in 1775. It quickly erupted into a massive seaborne insurgency involving thousands of money-mad patriots plundering Britain's maritime trade throughout Atlantic. Patton's extensive research brings to life the extraordinary adventures of privateers as they hammered the British economy, infuriated the Royal Navy, and humiliated the crown.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
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primary_isbn 9780375422843
publishDate 2008
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subject_facet France -- Foreign relations -- United States, Franklin, Benjamin, -- 1706-1790, Privateering -- United States -- History -- 18th century, United States -- Foreign relations -- France, United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Naval operations
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 : the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution [electronic resource] / Robert H. Patton
title_short Patriot pirates :
title_sub the privateer war for freedom and fortune in the American Revolution
topic_facet Foreign relations, Franklin, Benjamin, History, Military, Naval operations, Nonfiction, Privateering