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Rough WatersAmerican Involvement with the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries$
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Silvia Marzagalli, James R. Sofka, and John McCusker

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497346

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497346.001.0001

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Slavery as Social Mobility? Western Slaves in Late Eighteenth Century Algiers

Slavery as Social Mobility? Western Slaves in Late Eighteenth Century Algiers

Chapter:
(p.207) Slavery as Social Mobility? Western Slaves in Late Eighteenth Century Algiers
Source:
Rough Waters
Author(s):

Christine E. Sears

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780986497346.003.0012

This chapter explores the relationship between American merchants and diplomats and Barbary corsairs in the late-eighteenth century, by offering a case study of two American prisoners who managed to escape slavery and go on to become American consuls. Captain Richard O’Brien and Seaman James L. Cathcart used the connections they established during enslavement and the knowledge they gained of North Africa to expand their networks and gain their consul positions in an unusual but successful manner. It determines that both men managed to utilise their skillsets and networks they developed during enslavement as means of career advancement, and held positions normally reserved for non-sailors with relative success.

Keywords:   Barbary Corsairs, American Merchants, Algerian Slavery, Captain Richard O’Brien, James L. Cathcart

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