Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Release: Raffety, The Republic Afloat: Law, Honor, and Citizenship in Maritime America

The Republic Afloat: Law, Honor, and Citizenship in Maritime America, by Matthew Taylor Raffety, is out this month from the University of Chicago Press. Here's a description (from the Press):
In the years before the Civil War, many Americans saw the sea as a world apart, an often violent and insular culture governed by its own definitions of honor and ruled by its own authorities. The truth, however, is that legal cases that originated at sea had a tendency to come ashore and force the national government to address questions about personal honor, dignity, the rights of labor, and the meaning and privileges of citizenship, often for the first time. By examining how and why merchant seamen and their officers came into contact with the law, Matthew Taylor Raffety exposes the complex relationship between brutal crimes committed at sea and the development of a legal consciousness within both the judiciary and among seafarers in this period.

The Republic Afloat tracks how seamen conceived of themselves as individuals and how they defined their place within the United States. Of interest to historians of labor, law, maritime culture, and national identity in the early republic, Raffety’s work reveals much about the ways that merchant seamen sought to articulate the ideals of freedom and citizenship before the courts of the land—and how they helped to shape the laws of the young republic.
Marcus Rediker offers the following praise: "Matthew Raffety carries a bright lantern from the dark hold of a deep-sea sailing ship to the federal court room and back again, casting fresh light on several of the biggest issues of American history."

Check out the TOC after the jump.
Introduction: The Lorena, 1849

Part I Law

1 Learning the Ropes: The Legal Structure of Labor at Sea
2 The Education of Samuel Betts: Developing a National Maritime Law
3 Discipline but Not Punish: The Law and Labor Control at Sea
4 “All Is Violence”: Mutiny and Revolt as Labor Negotiation

Part II Honor

5 Forecastle Law: Personal Honor and the Defense of Custom at Sea
6 “Good Officers Make Good Men”: The Changing Meanings of Honor on the Quarterdeck

Part III Citizen

7 Our Man in Liverpool: The Consular Service and American Citizenship
8 “Equality Seemed to Be the Order of the Day”: Seaman, Citizenship, and National Identity
9 “We Are Eminently a Maritime People”: Seafarers and the American Character

Conclusion: Jack Tar, American