During the War 1812, US and Canadian privateers fought most of the naval battles between the United States and Great Britain. These privateers were comprised of captains who were motivated by the promise of profit to fight for their countries. There was a strong legal framework in both the United States and Great Britain that normalized piracy. Canadian and American ship owners and investors took advantage of it and funded privateering outfits during the war. Needless to say, privateers were incredibly risky investments.
Faye M. Kert has finally written a comprehensive history on the privateers of the War of 1812. Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812 published by Johns Hopkins University Press“highlights the economic, strategic, social and political impact of privateering” and explains why the dangers of piracy ultimately convinced the British to end its conflict with the United States.
Kert was previously a underwater archaeologist and she earned a PhD from the University of Leiden. She is currently an independent historian and the current book review editor for The Northern Mariner published by the Canadian Nautical Research Society. She is also the author ofTrimming Yankee Sails: Pirates and Privateers of New Brunswick and Prize and Prejudice: Privateering and Naval Prize in Atlantic Canada in the War of 1812.
Here is the interview with Faye M. Kert.