Borrowings in the U.S. Navy Regulations, 1802

by Abby Mullen, U.S. Naval Academy

This website is an exploratory visualization of the borrowings between 5 regulatory codes that were important to the U.S. Navy of the early republic, focusing on how the 1802 Naval Rules and Regulations borrowed from previous texts in both the American and British navies. Represented here are the 1775 Continental Navy Rules, the 1790 Royal Navy Regulations and Instructions, the 1798 Marine Rules and Regulations, and the U.S. Congress's 1800 Act for the Better Government of the Navy.

The visualization as it currently exists represents the realities of the underlying data, which was OCRed and then hand-corrected from published versions of each of these regulations sets. The OCR is not perfect, nor are the hand-corrections. The borrowings represented here by check marks are ones that had at least 5 words in a row that identically matched a regulation in another set. Thus, regulations that clearly borrow the sense of another regulation but do not share five consecutive words are not represented here. Likewise, the check marks represent only the best match between the two regulations. Sometimes regulations were merged or split, so one regulation might actually share text with two or more regulations elsewhere. Here you will see the match that has the largest number of identical words. A few match errors have been hand-corrected, but for the most part, these matches were identified computationally by Lincoln Mullen.

Text of the 1802 regulations U.S. Navy 1800 U.S. Navy 1798 Royal Navy 1790 U.S. Navy 1775

Comparison of regulations

U.S. Navy 1802

U.S. Navy 1800

U.S. Navy 1798

Royal Navy 1790

U.S. Navy 1775