In this book, Thomas narrates John Paul Jones early life in Scotland to provide background information that illustrates the beginning of John’s journey to becoming an accomplished sailor. Jones was born into a family belonging to the servant class, with his father working as a gardener for an estate in Arbigland, Scotland (Thomas 13). Jones would face improbable odds, similar to many colonists before they came to America, to penetrate the class system. At an early age Jones had a strong desire to “improve his place” and he thought that becoming an officer for the Royal Navy would help him climb up the social ladder (Thomas 11,16). It seems that throughout his early years aboard merchant and slave ships, Jones wanted to learn to become a better sailor, but valued most the opportunity to improve his social status. His need for “self-improvement” and fame helped him climb the ladder to become a captain, but also led him to some misfortune (Thomas 21,25). After legal troubles from Jones’ poor conduct as a captain, including the killing of a crewmember on the Betsy, he neede...
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...6). Jones’ contributions to the American Revolution were clear, but the fame and glory he sought from it were not always realized. He continued to search for glory and honor as part of Catherine the Great’s army in Russia, but ultimately he never got the fame he deserved (272,273).
The legacy of John Paul Jones should live on as an American hero that played a vital role in securing freedom for America, rather than as a characterization of an unruly pirate. His impact on the Battle of Saratoga and efforts in controlling the sea for American were not recognized as much until after his death. He might not have won “the glory he sought,” but he definitely “helped win a nation’s freedom” (Thomas 311). This biography has provided me with information that has widened by understanding of the American Revolution and a new perspective on the intricacies of the battles at sea.
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