CAST OFF: MARITIME LABOR IN AMERICA FROM 1935 TO 1955
Swaim, Carlyn Marie
Sicilia, David B.
MetadataShow full item record
Many studies have observed the precipitous decline in American shipping following the Second World War. Most focus on changes in maritime policy and the upsurge of flags of convenience. Yet this interpretation relegates mariners to a footnote. This thesis argues that America abandoned its seamen years before it abandoned its merchant marine, and that the labor story is an integral and largely overlooked dimension of the industry’s broader decline. It explores how the status and makeup of American seamen underwent monumental shifts from 1935 to 1955. Increased nationalization, improved conditions, and a patriotic cause boosted the standing of the industry, but federal and union intervention also changed the composition of the workforce and even eroded seamen’s status. These greater controls on mariners negatively affected the industry and this work contends that labor played a role in the transformation, and even decline, of the overall American Merchant Marine.