Book Cover

Borderland Smuggling:
Patriots, Loyalists, and Illicit Trade in the Northeast, 1783–1820

Joshua M. Smith

Foreword by James C. Bradford and Gene A. Smith, Series Editors

Paper: $21.95
Paper ISBN 13: - Pub Date: Details: Subject(s):
Add Paper To Cart
 
Available for pre-order. This book will be available November, 2019
 

 
North American Society for Oceanic History John Lyman Book Award in United States Maritime History
 
“A rich chronological catalogue of smuggling at the turn of the nineteenth century and a provocative argument: smugglers, and not nation-states, were the ones who defined the real limits of early American regional borders.”—H-Net  
 
“A significant contribution to the social construction of identity along the Canadian-American borderland.”—American Historical Review  
 
“Smith analyzes the intense and contentious period of smuggling from the end of the American Revolution through the War of 1812. . . . Highly readable.”—Canadian Historical Review  
 
“A key implication of the book is that smuggling was extensive and lucrative.”—Journal of American History  
 
“No study has made a more useful contribution to our understanding of the realities of seaborne commerce across the Maine-New Brunswick frontier than Smith’s splendid book.”—International Journal of Maritime History  
 
“This finely researched book provides a glance into a lost culture, and its careful analysis will provide a glimmer of understanding of some of the variables still extant in today’s illicit trade.”—Nautical Research Journal  
 
“Borderland Smuggling should be read by anyone interested in the regulation of trade, borders, and American national identity.”—Business History Review  
 
“Point[s] our attention to the concrete, transnational connections and conflicts that framed economy, polity, and society in the early republic.”—Journal of the Early Republic  
 
“Important both to regional studies as well as to the history of relations between the United States and Great Britain in these turbulent years.”—Military History  
 
“Smith’s carefully crafted, accessible account of smuggling in the Passamaquoddy region makes an important, scholarly contribution to our historical understanding of transborder trade and communications and reveals the usefulness of, and provides a model for, transborder scholarship.”—New England Quarterly  
 
“An interesting and informative account of how material self-interest and local loyalties trumped broader allegiances in the northeastern borderland of the early nineteenth century.”—Common-place

 
"Full of revealing episodes vividly told, Joshua Smith's book will contribute to the emerging attention to the Canadian-American borderland, an attention that challenges the narrow, nationalist historical traditions which ignore the important and continuous exchange of people and goods that transgressed the boundary.”—Alan Taylor, University of California at Davis

Passamaquoddy Bay lies between Maine and New Brunswick at the mouth of the St. Croix River. Most of it (including Campobello Island) is within Canada, but the Maine town of Lubec lies at the bay's entrance. Rich in beaver pelts, fish, and timber, the area was a famous smuggling center after the American Revolution. Joshua Smith examines the reasons for smuggling in this area and how three conflicts in early republic history--the 1809 Flour War, the War of 1812, and the 1820 Plaster War--reveal smuggling's relationship to crime, borderlands, and the transition from mercantilism to capitalism.

Smith astutely interprets smuggling as created and provoked by government efforts to maintain and regulate borders. In 1793 British and American negotiators framed a vague new boundary meant to demarcate the lingering British empire in North America (Canada) from the new American Republic. Officials insisted that an abstract line now divided local peoples on either side of Passamaquoddy Bay. Merely by persisting in trade across the newly demarcated national boundary, people violated the new laws. As smugglers, they defied both the British and American efforts to restrict and regulate commerce. Consequently, local resistance and national authorities engaged in a continuous battle for four decades.

Smith treats the Passamaquoddy Bay smuggling as more than a local episode of antiquarian interest. Indeed, he crafts a local case study to illuminate a widespread phenomenon in early modern Europe and the Americas.

Joshua M. Smith is professor of humanities at the United States Merchant Marine Academy and director of the American Merchant Marine Museum.  
 
A volume in the series New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology, edited by James C. Bradford and Gene Allen Smith
Sample Chapter(s):
Excerpt
Table of Contents


Awards
John Lyman Book Award - 2007

"a fascinating account of The Flour War, the War of 1812, and the 1820 Plaster War." "A valuable insight into the human relations among Canadians, Americans, and the Passamaquoddy Native Americans. Much more than goods was being exchanged. Very good reading."
--The Quoddy Times

Smith's findings will astound even the most intrepid Maine historians…a book that makes history come alive. In this book there is action and bravery but also the day-to-day pace of life at a crucial place at an important point in time.
--Maine Sunday Telegram

…significant contribution to the social construction of identity along the Canadian-American borderland.
--American Historical Review

…important both to regional studies as well as to the history of relations between the United States and Great Britain in these turbulent years.
--The Journal of Military History

…Joshua Smith's slim volume is timely--and will remain so. This finely researched book provides a glance into a lost culture, and its careful analysis will provide a glimmer of understanding of some of the variables still extant in today's illicit trade.
--Nautical Research Journal

Smith writes a good story, bases it on solid interpretation, and provides plenty of details and source leads for those who appreciate them.
--Sea History

…an interesting and informative account of how material self-interest and local loyalties trumped broader allegiances in the northeastern borderland of the early nineteenth century.
--Common-Place

…a lively and well-written investigation of an important and interesting subject…should be read by anyone interested in the regulation of trade, borders, and American national identity.
--Business History Review: Harvard Business School

"Carefully crafted, accessible account of smuggling in the Passamaquoddy region makes an important, scholarly contribution to our historical understanding of transborder trade and communications and reveals the usefulness of, and provides a model for, transborder scholarship."
--The New England Quarterly

Of Related Interest