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The American Revolution - Book Report/Review Example

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[Teacher name] [Class name] 20 March 2011 Privateers and the American Revolution Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution by Robert H. Patton tells the story of the privateers who fought many of the sea battles during the American Revolutionary War…
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Download file to see previous pages Patton points out that George Washington hoped the privateers would make the war too costly for the British to continue fighting, as the loss of goods piled up and made trade with the American colonies an impossible endeavor. Privateering was not only condoned by the fledgling American government but sponsored by it. Privateers were licensed to serve as mercenaries who fought in the Revolution for profit, and paid by the government to plunder cargo ships, steal the goods within the ships’ holds, and sell the goods back to the American government, in the process often killing the crews of the British supply ships. Patton tells the story of the privateers in a series of shorter stories about the various men involved that are centered in different locations in the American colonies. Over time, the stories of the men intertwine as their actions begin to affect one another and their paths begin to cross. He begins with Rhode Island and the story of John Brown, a wealthy merchant turned ruthless privateer. As Britain made restrictive trade laws that made it more and more difficult for American traders to export and sell their own goods through American ports, American merchants began to grow increasingly angry with British rule. The British sent Royal Navy patrol ships including the Gaspee to stop Americans from shipping and selling their own goods and confiscate the products American traders were attempting to sell. In retaliation, John Brown and a crew of raiders attacked the Gaspee. Brown knew that a ship going through the harbor at that time would become stranded on a sandbar, because he had been stranded on that same sandbar a year earlier. Brown and his cohorts waited for the ship to become stuck, then rowed to the ship in longboats and boarded the Gaspee. The raiders left the Gaspee’s crew on the shore, the captain suffering from gunshot wound to the leg that John Brown had inflicted on the captain himself. The marauders and looted and burned the ship. The Rhode Island government made a show of official disapproval while simultaneously doing everything possible to slow down the legal prosecution of Brown and his accomplices. Brown spent the next several years living in fear of being arrested for piracy. Fortunately for him, the colonial government appreciated his efforts against the British navy and made the process of charging Brown so difficult that the British finally gave up on the idea. Brown became a powerful merchant and smuggler. He once famously denied weapons and gunpowder to George Washington because a local colonial government had more money to spend on the items. In order to supply Washington’s troops with supplies, Congress began secretly funding Brown and others like him to pay for his piracy and ensure that the supplies would go to the Continental Army. Because Congress did not have much money, they paid the privateers in barter goods. Next Patton tells the story of Machias, Maine. A Royal Navy captain named James Moore attempted to acquire lumber in the town, but the locals refused to trade with him. In defiance they raised a special tree called a liberty pole. Moore ordered the town to take it down and give him lumber under the threat of his ship’s guns. In response, the townspeople attacked one of the supply ships with farm implements including scythes, pitchforks, and axes, took over the ship, and used it to ram Moore’s ship, the Margaretta. Moore fired on the raiders, but he was unable to stop them from taking ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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