The Wooden World Turned Upside Down: Naval Mutinies in the Age of Atlantic Revolution


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Mutinies tore like wildfire through the wooden warships of the revolutionary era. In navy after navy, shipboard discipline was pushed to the brink of collapse as unprecedented numbers of common seamen refused orders and turned their guns on the quarterdeck instead. By the late 1790s, relations between officers and men had plunged to such a low in many navies that violent, treasonous mutinies had become recurrent events. Based on archival research in the Netherlands, Denmark, Britain, France, Sweden, and the United States, this study lays bare the transnational origins of this insurrectionary frontline movement by focusing on the astonishing mobility and cosmopolitan culture of naval seamen.