Patriotism, Profit, and the Derby Privateers: Patriotic Capitalism in the American Revolution

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alan O Clancy (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Ellen Pearson

Abstract: In the Revolutionary War, the Americans had no means to combat the naval supremacy of the British Royal Navy. With limited funds at their disposal, the Continental Congress authorized private merchant vessels to act as privateers in the hopes of interrupting British trade. One such merchant was Elias Hasket Derby, who operated a modest merchant house in Salem, Massachusetts. Throughout the course of the war, Derby made a fortune by participating in Patriotic Capitalism, which brought a surge of capital and material goods into the fledgling nation, a practice that was of benefit both to Derby and to society as a whole. This paper will demonstrate Derby’s Patriotic Capitalism through a case study of the careers of two of his vessels, the Oliver Cromwell and the Grand Turk.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
revolutionary war, privateers, royal navy, patriotic capitalism

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