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Pirates Were Democrats?

October 28th, 2013 by Piper Smith

During the 17th and 18th centuries, most European societies were far from democracy. Ironically, most pirate crews that operated in the Caribbean were democratically structured. In fact, pirate crews were some of the first people to use a system of checks and balances–one that was similar to what we use in the United States today. Caribbean pirates also used elections in order to select their captain and their quartermaster. The pirate captain ran day to day activities, while the quartermaster was usually in charge during battle. Pirates were even compensated monetarily for injuries! Kind of like modern insurance and benefits.

Can you imagine these fearsome men sitting down to cast a vote?

Can you imagine these fearsome men sitting down to cast a vote?

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