Africa Squadron ePub download by Donald L. Canney

Africa Squadron

Potomac Books Inc.
Publication date: November 2006
ISBN: 9781597974646
Digital Book format: ePub (DRM-Free)

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Donald L. CanneyÆs study is the first book-length history of the U.S. NavyÆs Africa Squadron. Established in 1842 to enforce the ban on importing slaves to the United States, in twenty yearsÆ time the squadron proved ineffective. To officers and enlisted men alike, duty in the squadron was unpopular. The equatorial climate, departmental neglect, and judicial indifference, which allowed slavers back at sea, all contributed to the sailorsÆ frustration. Later, the most damaging allegation was that the squadron had failed at its mission. Canney investigates how this unit earned a poor reputation and whether it is deserved.

Though U.S. warships seized slave vessels as early as 1800, four decades passed before the Navy established a permanent squadron off the western coast of Africa to interdict U.S.-flag vessels participating in this trade. Canney traces the NavyÆs role in interdicting the slave trade, Great BritainÆs pressure on the U.S. government to curb slave traffic, the creation of the squadron, and how individual politicians, department secretaries, captains, and squadron commanders interpreted the laws and orders from higher authorities, changing squadron operations. While famous ships and captains served on this station, none won distinction in the Africa Squadron.

In the final analysis, the squadron was unsuccessful, even though it was the NavyÆs only permanent squadron with a specific, congressionally mandated mission: to maintain a quasi-blockade on a foreign shore. While Canney exonerates southern-born naval captains, who approached their work as diligently as their counterparts from the north, he demonstrates how the secretaries of the Navyùpro-slavery southern politiciansùneglected the squadron.
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