A Motley Crew in American Revolution 1

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A Motley Crew in the American Revolution – Vectors of Revolution

In the chapter “A Motley Crew in the American Revolution” authors Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker imply that sailor, slave and labor revolts set the stage for the American Revolution. Throughout this chapter of the book “The Many-Headed Hydra” the authors listed and cited historical facts to support their claim that a ”Motley Crew” (multiethnic, multiracial and organized group of people with a common goal) not just inspired America Revolution but would later transport revolutionary ideas across the Atlantic and influence revolts in England, France, Africa and Caribbean islands. The authors contend that sailors and slaves, who were defeated in America and thus dispersed, constituted multidirectional vector of revolution. Linebaugh and Rediker used diverse sources and many specifics and succeeded to convince me that sailors, slaves and free blacks, were powerful vectors of revolution.

The authors point out that sailors were one significant vector of revolution. The men of sea of the British Navy revolted and deserted naval ships after 1776. It is estimated that forty two thousand sailors fled in the following decade. They were inspired by struggles against press-gangs and king’s authority in colonies but also motivated with idea of freedom and equality. “Sailors black, white and brown had contact with slaves in British, French, Spanish and Dutch port cities of the Caribbean, exchanging information with them about slave revolts, abolition, and revolution and generating rumors that became material forces in their own right”-write Linebaugh and Rediker. It is known, the authors claim, that “motley crew” of “fifty or sixty men of all colors” with the help of “Irishmen of prodigious size” attacked British and American ships in the Caribbean in 1793. There is no question that many of those who were out on the ships, either naval or mercantile, got a revolutionary education.

Slaves and free...
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