Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution

Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution

by Paul A. Gilje
     
 

In Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution, life aboard warships, merchantmen, and whalers, as well as the interactions of mariners and others on shore, are recreated in absorbing detail. Describing the important contributions of sailors to the resistance movement against Great Britain and their experiences during the… See more details below

Overview

In Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution, life aboard warships, merchantmen, and whalers, as well as the interactions of mariners and others on shore, are recreated in absorbing detail. Describing the important contributions of sailors to the resistance movement against Great Britain and their experiences during the Revolutionary War, Gilje demonstrates that, while sailors recognized the ideals of the Revolution, the idea of liberty that they practiced was far more individual in nature - often expressed through hard drinking and womanizing or through the ability to join a ship of their choice. Gilje continues the story into the post-revolutionary world highlighted by the Quasi War with France, the confrontation with the Barbary Pirates, and the War of 1812, showing how the American Jack Tar emerged as an important symbol of the spirit of the new nation. Finally, Gilje discusses the efforts of evangelical reform to reach the waterfront and examines expressions of the ideals of the Age of Revolution as they emerged from maritime workers themselves in the form of literature, including the work of Herman Melville, James Fenimore Cooper, and Richard Henry Dana.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In its ambitious sweep and encyclopedic detail, Gilje's rendering of American maritime culture during the tumultuous century from 1750 to 1850 is unlikely to be surpassed."—William and Mary Quarterly

"Liberty on the Waterfront dramatically alters past perceptions of sailors and their worlds afloat and ashore. . . . A broad-based and skillfully crafted piece of social history."—Journal of American History

"This well-written, well-illustrated volume should become the standard, most accessible single source on seamen in antebellum America for many years to come."—Reviews in American History

"In its ambitious sweep and encyclopedic detail, Gilje's rendering of American maritime culture during the tumultuous century from 1750 to 1850 is unlikely to be surpassed."—William and Mary Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812237566
Publisher:
University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date:
12/28/2003
Series:
Early American Studies
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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