White Act of 1898

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The White Act of 1898 is a United States Federal statute governing mariners in the United States Merchant Marine.

Among other things, the act:

  • abolished the practice of imprisoning sailors who deserted from vessels in "American or nearby waters."[1]
  • abolished corporal punishment of seamen[1]

Prior to the White Act of 1898 "'bully mates'...had relied on their fists, belaying pins, and handspikes to enforce discipline."[1]


  1. ^ a b c Bauer, 1988:285.