All the readings I've done about "Free trade and Sailors Rights" indicate that the actual impressment that was occurring prior to the war of 1812, was actually happening on ships at sea...the british Navy would board American ships, ask for proof of citizenship, and when no proof was given, THEN they would take the person off the ship to serve in the British navy. Press gangs were typically done in England. I had done some readings on this since I had worked at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial at one time, in the 1980's. Maybe more information has come to light since then.
Thanks, Julie, you are correct on the history. The organizers of the Fair New Boston approached us and asked if we would offer this programming at their event. Obviously, with the location being in the middle of Ohio, it's a challenge to be absolutely historically accurate when so far from water. However, we thought it more important to be able to engage audiences on an issue that is so intimately connected to the American involvement in the War of 1812. Sometimes getting people interested in history requires out-of-the-box thinking - sort of like hosting a Jane Austen event in a country she never visited.
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Ah! I get it! Like a Ren Fair!
The Press Gang was such a wonderful addition to New Boston! I am so very happy that I had the chance to see it in action. I'm really happy that we had such a great interactive experience there; this is something that is sadly lacking or has gone by the wayside in many events. I can't even count the number of visitors that came up to us staff and congratulated us on such a well-organized group of individuals. I do hope you will all come back again! This was a great tool to help introduce people into The War of 1812!