The Ocean Is a Wilderness: Atlantic Piracy and the Limits of State Authority, 1688-1856

The Ocean Is a Wilderness: Atlantic Piracy and the Limits of State Authority, 1688-1856

by Guy Chet

Paperback(New Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625340856
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date: 06/30/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 178
Sales rank: 478,559
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Guy Chet is associate professor of history at the University of North Texas and author of Conquering the American Wilderness: The Triumph of European Warfare in the Colonial Northeast (University of Massachusetts Press, 2003).

For a podcast interview of Prof. Chet, please see New Books in Law

New Books in Military History;

or New Books in American Studies

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

1 Atlantic Frontier: Continued Piracy through the Long Eighteenth Century 8

2 Frustrated Aspirations: The Legal and Ethical Presumptions of the Early Modern State 27

3 Holding the Bag: The Marine Insurance Industry's Role in Perpetuating and Combating Piracy 51

4 Smuggling: Armed Commerce and the Severe Limits of State Enforcement and Persuasion 66

Conclusion 92

Notes 101

Bibliography 133

Index 155

What People are Saying About This

Trevor Burnard

An interesting, well written, and well-conceived book. The primary sources and the secondary works consulted are extensive and sensible, and the book makes an effective contribution to a number of fields — Atlantic history, maritime history, government and the nature of the early modern state, and international history.

Jack P. Greene

This thoughtful and persuasive volume is one of the most important contributions to the emerging understanding of the limited reach of state authority and empire during the early modern era. Focusing upon the British government's inability to stop piracy, wrecking, and smuggling both on the sea and along the coastline of the Atlantic world throughout the eighteenth and much of the nineteenth centuries, this study underlines the vast gap between policy and enforcement within the British Empire, the widespread dispersal of authority endemic to state and empire and indeed essential to their success, and the weakness of metropolitan coercive resources. In the process, Guy Chet makes an overwhelmingly convincing case against those who have uncritically assumed state policy pronouncements can be taken as an accurate indication of how empires worked.

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