A madman versus a crook? Unexpected twists? Fake news? Welcome to the election of 1800.
A. Roger Ekirch | American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution | Pantheon | February 2017 | 33 minutes (8,149 words)
Below is an excerpt from American Sanctuary, by A. Roger Ekirch.
For background, it is important to know that a seaman named Jonathan Robbins participated in a mutiny on the HMS Hermione in 1797, the bloodiest mutiny in British naval history. Afterward, he joined the American navy, but he was eventually recognized and jailed. To justify his actions, Robbins claimed he was an American citizen who had been impressed—that is, captured and forced into servitude—by the British navy. However, his American citizenship was disputed. The British sought his extradition, which the president, the Federalist John Adams, granted—an action which had disastrous political consequences for his party. Robbins was found guilty by a British naval court and hanged from the yardarm of the HMS Acasta in 1799.
This story is recommended by Longreads contributing editor Dana Snitzky.Continue reading “The Immigration-Obsessed, Polarized, Garbage-Fire Election of 1800”