The revolutionary period for what would become the United States is possibly one of the most important historical periods in American history. This period is marked by famous documents, famous politicians and famous battles. These are all very crucial to the history of the United States, but few realize the importance that the maritime industry played in the revolutionary and early national period. This could be because there is not great naval victory for the United States or any blatantly direct link between the maritime industry navy included, and the revolution or the policies that were derived from this period. There are; however very important economic and cultural issues that have both a role as both cause and effect of the revolution and the period following it. These are events, policies and ideals by the American people that would become part of the framework for the founding and early United States.
While taking into account the multitude of events that took place in all dimensions of the American revolutionary period, the following will place a maritime bias lens on the events that have both great relevance to the revolution and early United States.
The first historically significant aspect of the revolutionary period is the building of a Continental Navy. This was done differently than what most would consider a normal. Unlike Britain who had ships built to be used in battle, the Continental Navy was made up of merchant ships, or privateer vessels. In many cases wealthy merchants such as Robert Morris sold their ships, for very fair prices to the Continental Navy to be outrigged into a worthy battle ship( pg.159). The building up of America's navy may not have created the United States into a world sea power, but it did help in providing the United States with some sort of protected transportation of goods needed for the eventual battle on land. The Navy did also help in acting as a deterrent in some situations as the men that were sailing on the American ships became known as quite ruthless and very well skilled at sailing.
The political aspect the maritime dimension played in the time leading up the the revolution can also be seen as a key catalyst in this historical period. As Americans became more self reliant and used their skill in the maritime environment to foster a strong desire for innovation, the British became more aware of this. The possibility of loosing such a valuable colony or at least having to sacrifice the resources on maintaining peace in the colonies did not settle with the British. The British were very interested in maintaining exclusive trading rights with the colonies, through a concept called mercantilism. The British also enacted such policy as the Navigation Acts. These actions on behalf of the British did nothing more than oppress a people that were beginning to feel that they were not on the beneficial side of the relationship. This lead to eventual uprisings and boycotts of all sorts of British...