John Paul Jones: The Life and Legacy of the Revolutionary War Commander Dubbed the Father of the American Navy
Date: July 2019
Duration: 1 hours 36 minutes
When the American Revolution began, the Continental Army sported numerous volunteers from Ireland, Scotland, virtually every European nation between France and Russia, and men from the northern and southern borders of the European continent. There are good reasons America doesn’t possess a constitutionally-confirmed national language, despite an English-speaking majority; among the early proposals for such a common language, German and French served as contenders, with the latter going on to become Western Europe’s official diplomatic language.
Plenty of unusual characters came to the colonies to participate in the war, with many sporting dubious titles such as the Baron de Kalb, but perhaps none arrived in a more unique way than John Paul Jones, a Scottish sailor who had plenty of experience with British ships before a controversial row on one ship compelled him to flee to the colonies in 1775. As it turned out, he was arriving in Virginia just in time for more fighting, this time against the British.
Despite his lofty sobriquet, Jones constantly found himself frustrated by people and events beyond his control during the Revolution, and it would take years before the aggressive commander could take the fight to the British. Through a murky system involving French ships, and an even murkier chain of events, Jones engaged the British in battle around the British Isles, and his aggression became the stuff of legend. While the British accused him of being a pirate, he was feted by the Americans and French during the war before joining the Russian navy after the war.
John Paul Jones: The Life and Legacy of the Revolutionary War Commander Dubbed the Father of the American Navy profiles one of the Revolutionary War’s most colorful figures.