Essay on Privateering and its Impact on the American Revolution

1696 Words Apr 7th, 2014 7 Pages
Privateering and Its Impact on the American Revolution

Emma Utesch History 201-122 September 18, 2012

In the 1700s, a privateer was someone who was mandated by the government to attack ships from abroad during war time. 1During the Revolutionary War, privateer ships would receive Letters of Marque, a decree that authorized ships to act on behalf of the nations from which they were issued for the purpose of retaliating against another nation for some wrong such as border incursion. The Continental Congress of the United
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Privateering permitted the U.S. to increase their naval force in a small period of time for substantially less money. The entirety of the proceeds from the sale of bounties and captured goods went to the owners and pillagers, which resulted in the crews getting a larger amount of prize money than regular naval seamen, who were required to share with the government; the privateersmen had higher pay.

Privateering was innovative compared to the Continental Navy for several reasons. The whole attitude of privateering was less regimented and formal than that of the Navy, which allowed for new ideas and innovations that might not have come into effect without this open-minded perspective.

The first reason was that they had more invested in their work. Since they were practically self-employed, the men on privateer ships were able to potentially gain more profit from raiding ships than men in the Navy were. Privateering was more profitable because the people involved knew that if they put more effort and funding into it, they would get more profit out - they were involved because they knew that it would be profitable and therefore, they worked hard. Because of the less structured element of privateering, a more diverse variety of people were allowed to join the movement - men who otherwise would have been homeless, men from the whaling ports, men of

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