Andrew Cayton, Miami University
"The War of 1812 remains misunderstood. Paul Gilje’s wonderful book helps us to understand the origins and consequences of the war. It is a finely wrought intellectual and cultural history that explains what the war meant to those who fought, as well how their descendants remembered the conflict. Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights in the War of 1812 belongs on the short list of essential books on the 'Second War of Independence'."
Frank Cogliano, University of Edinburgh
"This is a fascinating work; an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on the Early American Republic. With rich detail, Gilje shows how a simple, but powerful, slogan kept the promise of the American Revolution alive in the hearts and minds of those outside the corridors of power."
Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School
"If there is one must-read book on the War of 1812, this is it. With clear prose, up-to-date scholarship, and stimulating interpretation, Paul Gilje recovers a lost world of how Americans explained a strange and seemingly inconclusive conflict to themselves. The wartime slogan, 'Free Trade and Sailors' Rights', melded high economic theory, low political obfuscation, and genuine democratic impulses to ennoble an often ignoble cause and create a vision for the nation’s future."
Daniel K. Richter, University of Pennsylvania
"Paul A. Gilje has a well-deserved reputation as the preeminent historian of the American waterfront. In his new book, he examines the high and low cultures of maritime life to explain how the concepts of ‘free trade’ and ‘sailors’ rights’ could carry the early republic through the ordeal of its second war with Great Britain. Drawing on his extensive familiarity with primary sources and material artifacts, Gilje gives us a deeply insightful reinterpretation of the meaning of the War of 1812 on the occasion of its bicentennial."
J. C. A. Stagg, University of Virginia
"… this work makes an excellent contribution by studying the war from the perspective of both high and low culture."
Thomas Sheppard, H-War
"Gilje’s book is a valuable contribution and a substantial achievement."
Matthew Taylor Raffety, William and Mary Quarterly
"… one of the best of many books recently published to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812."
Brian Rouleau, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"… I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the maritime and ideological dimensions of the war as well as anyone interested in connections between the colonial and early national periods in US history."
Christopher P. Magra, The New England Quarterly
"… Gilje’s ambition is admirable. He has rescued the forgotten phrase that gave meaning to America’s original forgotten war."
Denver Brunsman, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"This work deserves a central place on bookshelves devoted to the nation’s second war with Great Britain. All students interested in the origins of the War of 1812 and its aftermath will profit from it."
Donald R. Hickey, The Journal of American History