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Rutgers University Lemisch Disagreement With Samuel Eliot Morison Discussion Questions

Rutgers University Lemisch Disagreement With Samuel Eliot Morison Discussion Questions

Description

Answer any two out of the three discussion questions about Jesse Lemisch’s “Jack Tar in the Streets: Merchant Seamen in the Politics of Revolutionary America,” William and Mary Quarterly 25:3 (1968): 371-407.

1. Why does Lemisch disagree with Samuel Eliot Morison’s characterization that the typical merchant seaman “was a clean young farm-boy on the make” (p. 374)? Why does Lemisch instead characterize merchant seamen as “fugitives and floaters,” “outcasts,” “dissenters from the American mood,” and “rebels” (p. 377)?

2. Why were merchant seamen “treated so much like a child, a servant, and a slave” by their employers and colonial authorities (p. 380) ? What was the reality of the employment and legal statuses of merchant seamen in the 1700s?

3. What was “impressment” (p. 381)? Why did seamen, merchants, and American colonists in general “share a common grievance” against impressment? How did the use of impressment by the British Navy fuel major protests in Boston and other colonial port cities in the 1740s-60s? How did opposition to impressment factor into the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution?