Today's blogpost is a transcript of a conversation I had in the outer pen this afternoon, as depicted in this video.
When did privateering go into disrepute? I would say that it happened sometime after the War of 1812. And I would say that it wasn't a coincidence that it happened then, and that it was part of a concerted effort to change the way Americans looked at those who provided them with protection and military service.
Prior to the War of 1812, it was understood that while there was going to be a standing navy, there would not be a standing army. And the Navy itself was to be much smaller than the navy of a large empire, such as Great Britain. The idea was that the services provided by the American Navy could be supplemented by private enterprise, by private ship owners, private captains and private warriors who would perform the same services as the military of the competitors of the United States without affecting the taxpayer, without affecting the civil rights -- the civil liberties -- that were protected in the bill of rights. And that was why prior to War of 1812...
-- Can I borrow this book, Bow? I want to show the people the book, okay? --
This is my second book in the Theodosia series. Bow was reading it, but he took very good care of it while he was reading it. And this is where you see the transformation happen. All of a sudden, privateers are not the good guys, anymore. And it's not just Jean Laffite, although he certainly was a victim in this change in the way the wind was blowing. But there were other privateers, American privateers, who were suffering the same fate. All of a sudden it was decided that only the government was going to be waging war, only the government would be involved in major defense or offense efforts, and that anyone who wanted to compete with the government was not welcome anymore -- even if that person, like Jean Laffite, saved the United States in the past.
[Bow starts to protest.]
--Okay. You can have the book back. You're welcome.