The Paris Declaration

It is vitally important to understand who signed the the Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law and why. It was first signed and ratified by  The United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire. What is the first thing we can note about these places. Most of them were fairly powerful. What they were doing was creating a system that gave them the benefits while attempting to remove the advantage of smaller weaker countries from using the outrageously successful privateers.

Thomas Jefferson noted in 1812 that:

every possible encouragement should be given to privateering in time of war with a commercial nation…our national ships are too few in number…to retaliate the acts of the enemy…by licensing private armed vessels, the whole naval force of the nation is truly brought to bear on the foe.”

   According to wikipedia (I know…) American privateers took about 600 British vessels during the war. At the time America had no real navy to speak of. They did however have lots of people interested in becoming free and making a profit at the same time. Now similar events occured during the war of 1812. Does anyone really think the  politicians had forgotten this when signing a document outlawing privateers?

   Remember, a government does not like competition. It tends to show off how much better someone else is at doing their jobs.


One thought on “The Paris Declaration

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