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Coercion, Cooperation, and Conflict along the Charleston Waterfront, 1739-1785: Navigating the Social Waters of an Atlantic Port City

Marin, Craig Thomas (2008) Coercion, Cooperation, and Conflict along the Charleston Waterfront, 1739-1785: Navigating the Social Waters of an Atlantic Port City. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation argues that the economic demands of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world made Charleston, South Carolina, a center of significant sailor, slave, and servant resistance, allowing the working people of the city's waterfront to permanently alter both the plantation slave system and the export economy of South Carolina. It explores the meanings and effects of resistance within the context of the waterfront, the South Carolina plantation economy, and the wider Atlantic World. Focusing on the period that began with the major slave rebellion along the Stono River in 1739 and culminated with the 1785 incorporation of Charleston, this dissertation relies on newspapers, legislative journals, court records, and the private correspondence and business papers of merchants and planters to reveal the daily activities of waterfront workers as they interacted with each other, and with their employers and masters. During these decades, while masters and employers dominated the plantation fields and urban households of South Carolina, the waterfront of Charleston and the waterways of South Carolina were the reserve of maritime workers. These environs muted the power of the white elite and greatly expanded the autonomy of workers. Due to their near-constant mobility and daily interactions with others who were mobile, maritime workers created an environment that allowed them to challenge and reset the boundaries of acceptable behavior in and out of the work environment.While the story of planter and merchant domination in South Carolina is well documented and understood, any story of slave, servant and free worker subversion of the plantation regime from within is incomplete without a consideration of the important role that maritime laborers played in this process. By highlighting the central role that maritime laborers played in challenging and reshaping local and regional social and economic systems in the eighteenth century, this work expands our understanding of Southern, African American, Atlantic, and maritime history.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Marin, Craig Thomasctmst6@pitt.eduCTMST6
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRediker, Marcusred1@pitt.eduRED1
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.eduJM2
Committee MemberDrescher, Seymoursyd@pitt.eduSYD
Committee MemberHall, Van Beckvanbeck@pitt.eduVANBECK
Date: 25 January 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 December 2007
Approval Date: 25 January 2008
Submission Date: 3 December 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: port; labor; Lowcountry
Other ID:, etd-12032007-154055
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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