- Jan 2011
- South of the barcodes
Shanghaied is the technical term. Get them drunk, smack them round the head with a lead sap, slip narcotics in their drinks, whatever works for you. they wake up two days out of port with a three month voyage to go and either have the choice of being an unpaying passenger and starving or signing articles with the ship.Why were US citizens impressed onto US ships?
San Francisco and New York were famous for it, so no its not an official draft but it is sanctioned because the crimps could be benficial at election time
Shanghaiing - Wikipedia
to be lazy again and quote wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghaiing#cite_note-smith-10First, once an American sailor signed on board a vessel for a voyage, it was illegal for him to leave the ship before the voyage's end. The penalty was imprisonment, the result of federal legislation enacted in 1790. (This factor was mitigated by the Maguire Act of 1895 and the White Act of 1898, and finally abolished by the Seamen's Act of 1915.)
Second, the practice was driven by a shortage of labor, particularly of skilled labor on ships on the West Coast. With crews abandoning ships en masse because of the California Gold Rush, a healthy body on board the ship was a boon.
Finally, shanghaiing was made possible by the existence of boarding masters, whose job was to find crews for ships. Boarding masters were paid "by the body," and thus had a strong incentive to place as many seamen on ships as possible. This pay was called "blood money," and was just one of the revenue streams available. These factors set the stage for the crimp: a boarding master who uses trickery, intimidation, or violence to put a sailor on a ship.
The most straightforward method for a crimp to shanghai a sailor was to render him unconscious, forge his signature on the ship's articles, and pick up his "blood money." This approach was widely used, but there were more profitable methods.