Johnson, Charles "Capt. Teach alias Black-Beard" in A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers. 1736. London: Oliver Payne, plate facing p. 86; via Wikimedia Commons

PIRACY AND THE ENLIGHTENMENT

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) ‘Have the courage to use your own understanding,’ is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.” 

- Immanuel Kant

Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784)

Pirates put ideas into action, and created floating republics that exemplified the equality and democracy that were outlined by Enlightenment philosophes.

Ship’s articles, images, biographies, and primary source documents such as Captain Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates (1724).

Utilizing primary and secondary sources to create a cohesive narrative about the Enlightened Pirate and demonstrate the argument outlined in the thesis.

About the Author

Zoe Katz studies History and English Literature with a specialization in Global Learning at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. Her academic interests include History, Creative Writing, and the Enlightenment. Professionally, she would love to work in Historical Interpretation. She plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing.

About the Class

HIS-309: The Enlightenment in Europe, explores the cultural history of Western Europe in the 18th century, a period known as “The Age of Reason” or “The Enlightenment.” On the eve of the American and French Revolutions, the Enlightenment marked the threshold of modernity by offering new ways of looking at the world and those within it.