Author: Christopher Magra, associate professor of history
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Synopsis: Poseidon’s Curse interprets the American Revolution from the vantage point of the Atlantic Ocean. Magra traces how British naval impressment played a leading role in the rise of Great Britain’s seaborne empire, yet ultimately contributed significantly to its decline. Long reliant on appropriating free laborers to man the warships that defended British colonies and maritime commerce, the British severely jeopardized mariners’ earning potential and occupational mobility, which led to deep resentment toward the British Empire. Magra explains how anger about impressment translated into revolutionary ideology, with impressment eventually occupying a major role in the Declaration of Independence as one of the foremost grievances Americans had with the British government.