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Sovereignty at SeaU.S. Merchant Ships and American Entry into World War I$
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Rodney Carlisle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037622

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037622.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Sovereignty at Sea
Author(s):

Rodney Carlisle

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813037622.003.0001

This introductory chapter explains the place of the American merchant marine in society in the years preceding World War I. The low social standing of merchant mariners, the mundane nature of the work they did, and the unglamorous cargos they shipped, have all contributed to a skewed view of American entry into World War I. Even so, American merchant sailors travelled under the protection of the American flag. During the period 1914–7, Wilson hoped that adherence to international law would allow the United States to remain neutral and would protect the American flag at sea. However, as the war between the Central Powers and the Allies extended from the battlefield to economic warfare, differing interpretations of international law revealed the weakness of law to protect neutrals.

Keywords:   American flag, merchant mariners, international law, World War I, merchant sailors

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