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Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution by Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (review)

Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution by Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (review) JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Winter 2017) Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution. By Nathan Perl-Rosenthal. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp 372. Cloth, $23.90.) Reviewed by Christine E. Sears As Jesse Lemisch revealed in the 1960s, Jack Tar was not a “rebel without a cause.”1 Since then, scholars have struggled to identify who Jack Tar was and what cause or causes he embraced. Nathan Perl-Rosenthal contextualizes sailors’ early American republic world. He does not see sailors as united by material conditions, labor arrangements, or class conflict as have Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh. Neither were seamen primarily motivated by revolutionary ideology. Like the sailors in Paul Gilje’s work, Perl-Rosenthal’s Jack Tars are motivated by the need to make a living in a complex and war-torn Atlantic world, which put seafarers in the “midst of a struggle for national citizenship” (270). In his ambitious and compellingly written first monograph, Perl-Rosenthal argues that American merchant seamen “not only became attached to the state earlier and more strongly” than others, but also played a unique role in defining American citizenship (5). U.S., British, and French documents led Nathan Perl-Rosenthal “to see merchant http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution by Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 37 (4) – Oct 31, 2017

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Winter 2017) Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution. By Nathan Perl-Rosenthal. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp 372. Cloth, $23.90.) Reviewed by Christine E. Sears As Jesse Lemisch revealed in the 1960s, Jack Tar was not a “rebel without a cause.”1 Since then, scholars have struggled to identify who Jack Tar was and what cause or causes he embraced. Nathan Perl-Rosenthal contextualizes sailors’ early American republic world. He does not see sailors as united by material conditions, labor arrangements, or class conflict as have Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh. Neither were seamen primarily motivated by revolutionary ideology. Like the sailors in Paul Gilje’s work, Perl-Rosenthal’s Jack Tars are motivated by the need to make a living in a complex and war-torn Atlantic world, which put seafarers in the “midst of a struggle for national citizenship” (270). In his ambitious and compellingly written first monograph, Perl-Rosenthal argues that American merchant seamen “not only became attached to the state earlier and more strongly” than others, but also played a unique role in defining American citizenship (5). U.S., British, and French documents led Nathan Perl-Rosenthal “to see merchant

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Oct 31, 2017

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