Captives and Countrymen: Barbary Slavery and the American Public, 1785–1816

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JHU Press, Feb 18, 2009 - History - 256 pages
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In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Barbary States captured and held for ransom nearly five hundred American sailors. The attacks on Americans abroad—and the government’s apparent inability to control the situation—deeply scarred the public. Captives and Countrymen examines the effect of these acts on early national culture and on the new republic's conception of itself and its position in the world.

Lawrence A. Peskin uses newspaper and other contemporaneous accounts—including recently unearthed letters from some of the captive Americans—to show how information about the North African piracy traveled throughout the early republic. His dramatic account reveals early concepts of national identity, party politics, and the use of military power, including the lingering impact of the Barbary Wars on the national consciousness, the effects of white slavery in North Africa on the American abolitionist movement, and the debate over founding a national navy.

This first systematic study of how the United States responded to "Barbary Captivity" shows how public reaction to international events shaped America domestically and its evolving place in the world during the early nineteenth century.

 

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I read sections of this book in a history class. It gives great insight into historical events that are rarely spoken about. This book proves useful in teaching the history of U.S relations and is presented in simple, yet colorful language that makes it an enjoyable read

Contents

Introduction
1
PART 1 CAPTIVITY AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE
5
PART 2 THE IMPACT OF CAPTIVITY AT HOME
69
PART 3 CAPTIVITY AND THE AMERICAN EMPIRE
135
Conclusion Captivity and Globalization
211
Lists of Letters from Captives
215
Notes
219
Index
251
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About the author (2009)

Lawrence A. Peskin is an associate professor of history at Morgan State University. He is the author of Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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