Friday, October 07, 2016

Pirate Democracy

The popular image of a pirate is of a rough, crude, and brutal rogue of a sailor terrorizing commercial sailing vessels approximately from the 1650s to the 1730s (the "Golden Age of Piracy").

What many people do not know is that pirates "made a significant contribution to the development of American democracy" (http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158274). Common sailors of that era were often mistreated and abused. Once freed from the beatings and maltreatment at the hands of tyrannical captains, pirates organized themselves into relatively egalitarian shipboard societies.

According to an article by Rachel Rolnick in the History News Network, there were five major ways pirates fostered democracy:
  1. Pirates chose their own captains
  2. Captains could be removed at the will of the crew
  3. A Quartermaster, given broad powers, was chosen as intermediary between the captain and the crew
  4. Pirates were compensated for injuries
  5. Pirate codes were established to fairly distribute plunder among the crew
Rolnick concludes her article by writing, "Pirate Codes were revolutionary in their method of taking power away from any one man, and placing it in the hands of the majority."
Pirate Codes were revolutionary in their method of taking power away from any one man, and placing it in the hands of the majority. - See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158274#sthash.60bfTVdh.dpuf
Pirate Codes were revolutionary in their method of taking power away from any one man, and placing it in the hands of the majority. - See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158274#sthash.60bfTVdh.dpuf
Pirate Codes were revolutionary in their method of taking power away from any one man, and placing it in the hands of the majority. - See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158274#sthash.60bfTVdh.dpuf
Pirate Codes were revolutionary in their method of taking power away from any one man, and placing it in the hands of the majority. - See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158274#sthash.60bfTVdh.dpuf

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:40 PM

    once again, interesting. The storm is important but it's good to take a commercial break every now and again. Thanks for the pirate commercial. I like it. Thanks for a good site.

    ReplyDelete

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