Was Blackbeard An Early Democratic Rebel?

Blackbeard and other pirates may have been social reformers and opponents to King George well before the American Revolution took place.

Of all pirates, Blackbeard looms large. In his day, he was so feared that captains would surrender their ships without a fight. But now, the pirate’s legend is being recast.

Colin Woodward, author of The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, says in a New York Times opinion piece that Blackbeard and other Bahamian pirates were early social reformers who opposed Britain’s King George decades before the American Revolution.

In his piece, Woodward says Bahamian pirates voted for their leaders and had better working conditions, including better hours, food and wine than merchant and Navy sailors of their day. They also enjoyed disability benefits, receiving compensation for lost limbs and eyeballs, and did not discriminate by race or gender, allowing women and black slaves to serve in leadership positions.

You can read more about it here.