With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire by Brian RouleauWith Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire by Brian Rouleau

With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire

byBrian Rouleau

Hardcover | December 5, 2014

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Many Americans in the Early Republic era saw the seas as another field for national aggrandizement. With a merchant marine that competed against Britain for commercial supremacy and a whaling fleet that circled the globe, the United States sought a maritime empire to complement its territorial ambitions in North America. In With Sails Whitening Every Sea, Brian Rouleau argues that because of their ubiquity in foreign ports, American sailors were the principal agents of overseas foreign relations in the early republic. Their everyday encounters and more problematic interactions—barroom brawling, sexual escapades in port-city bordellos, and the performance of blackface minstrel shows—shaped how the United States was perceived overseas.Rouleau details both the mariners' "working-class diplomacy" and the anxieties such interactions inspired among federal authorities and missionary communities, who saw the behavior of American sailors as mere debauchery. Indiscriminate violence and licentious conduct, they feared, threatened both mercantile profit margins and the nation's reputation overseas. As Rouleau chronicles, the world's oceans and seaport spaces soon became a battleground over the terms by which American citizens would introduce themselves to the world. But by the end of the Civil War, seamen were no longer the nation's principal ambassadors. Hordes of wealthy tourists had replaced seafarers, and those privileged travelers moved through a world characterized by consolidated state and corporate authority. Expanding nineteenth-century America's master narrative beyond the water's edge, With Sails Whitening Every Sea reveals the maritime networks that bound the Early Republic to the wider world.

Brian Rouleau is Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University.
Title:With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime EmpireFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.39 inPublished:December 5, 2014Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801452333

ISBN - 13:9780801452338

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Table of Contents

Introduction: "Born to Rule the Seas"1. Schoolhouses Afloat2. Jim Crow Girdles the Globe3. Maritime Destiny as Manifest Destiny4. A Maritime Empire of Moral Depravity5. An Intimate History of Early America's Maritime Empire6. Making Do at the Margins of Maritime EmpireEpilogue: Out of the Sailor’s Den, into the Tourist TrapNotes

Editorial Reviews

"In this groundbreaking study of U.S. sailors abroad, Brian Rouleau rewrites the history of U.S. foreign relations during the antebellum era. Through keen analysis, impressive research, and compelling storytelling, Rouleau reveals that Manifest Destiny was a global process that extended far beyond U.S. terrestrial borders and into the vast reaches of the Atlantic and Pacific. He shows that long before the late nineteenth-century push for global empire, antebellum sailors were critical nonstate actors who—as writers, laborers, minstrel show performers, traders, and violent defenders of white American masculinity—shaped the course of U.S. diplomacy and remade the meaning of race and gender worldwide." - Stacey L. Smith, Oregon State University, author of Frontiers of Freedom: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction