Captives and Countrymen: Barbary Slavery and the American Public, 1785-1816

Overview

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Barbary States captured and held for ransom nearly five hundred American sailors. The attacks on Americans abroad—and the government’s apparent inability to control the situation—deeply scarred the public. Captives and Countrymen examines the effect of these acts on early national culture and on the new republic's conception of itself and its position in the world.

Lawrence A. Peskin uses newspaper and other ...

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Captives and Countrymen: Barbary Slavery and the American Public, 1785

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Overview

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Barbary States captured and held for ransom nearly five hundred American sailors. The attacks on Americans abroad—and the government’s apparent inability to control the situation—deeply scarred the public. Captives and Countrymen examines the effect of these acts on early national culture and on the new republic's conception of itself and its position in the world.

Lawrence A. Peskin uses newspaper and other contemporaneous accounts—including recently unearthed letters from some of the captive Americans—to show how information about the North African piracy traveled throughout the early republic. His dramatic account reveals early concepts of national identity, party politics, and the use of military power, including the lingering impact of the Barbary Wars on the national consciousness, the effects of white slavery in North Africa on the American abolitionist movement, and the debate over founding a national navy.

This first systematic study of how the United States responded to "Barbary Captivity" shows how public reaction to international events shaped America domestically and its evolving place in the world during the early nineteenth century.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - John A. C. Greppin

Peskin's splendid book gives the reader a new way to look at the Barbary piracy.

New England Quarterly - Paul Baepler

Peskin's work should be welcomed as providing an important piece to the larger unfolding story of Western interaction with the Arab world.

Journal of American Studies - Marco Sioli

After September 11 2001, many books have explored the clash between the United States and the Barbary States in the years bridging the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, seeking the traces of early national engagement in the Muslim world... [Peskin] finally moves beyond these publications, bringing both new sources and new ideas into play... The debate over the Barbary Wars was pivotal in American contemporary politics and public opinion.

Register of the Kentucky Historical Society - Andrew M. Schocket

Captives and Countrymen is an important contribution to our understanding of the public sphere, nationalism, and imperiialism in the early republic.

American Historical Review - Paul A. Gilje

Peskin provides an important contribution to the understanding of the development of American nationalism.

Diplomatic History - Franklin T. Lambert

A well-researched, closely argued book from which both general readers and specialists alike will benefit.

New England Quarterly

Peskin's work should be welcomed as providing an important piece to the larger unfolding story of Western interaction with the Arab world.

— Paul Baepler

Times Literary Supplement

Peskin's splendid book gives the reader a new way to look at the Barbary piracy.

— John A. C. Greppin

American Historical Review

Peskin provides an important contribution to the understanding of the development of American nationalism.

— Paul A. Gilje

Journal of American Studies

After September 11 2001, many books have explored the clash between the United States and the Barbary States in the years bridging the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, seeking the traces of early national engagement in the Muslim world... [Peskin] finally moves beyond these publications, bringing both new sources and new ideas into play... The debate over the Barbary Wars was pivotal in American contemporary politics and public opinion.

— Marco Sioli

Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Captives and Countrymen is an important contribution to our understanding of the public sphere, nationalism, and imperiialism in the early republic.

— Andrew M. Schocket

Diplomatic History

A well -- researched, closely argued book from which both general readers and specialists alike will benefit.

— Franklin T. Lambert

Paul A. Gilje

Peskin provides an important contribution to the understanding of the development of American nationalism.

Andrew M. Schocket

Captives and Countrymen is an important contribution to our understanding of the public sphere, nationalism, and imperiialism in the early republic.

John A. C. Greppin

Peskin's splendid book gives the reader a new way to look at the Barbary piracy.

Paul Baepler

Peskin's work should be welcomed as providing an important piece to the larger unfolding story of Western interaction with the Arab world.

Marco Sioli

After September 11 2001, many books have explored the clash between the United States and the Barbary States in the years bridging the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, seeking the traces of early national engagement in the Muslim world... [Peskin] finally moves beyond these publications, bringing both new sources and new ideas into play... The debate over the Barbary Wars was pivotal in American contemporary politics and public opinion.

Franklin T. Lambert

A well-researched, closely argued book from which both general readers and specialists alike will benefit.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801891397
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 2/18/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence A. Peskin is an associate professor of history at Morgan State University. He is the author of Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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