THE CASE OF THE I'M ALONE.
(Under the direction of Professor Michael A. Palmer) Department of History, May 1998.
The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate how American efforts to enforce national prohibition legislation at sea led to disputes concerning international maritime law. The case of the Canadian rumrunner I'm Alone, sunk by the United States Coast Guard in 1929, will provide the framework for this study. The attack by the United States Coast Guard cutter Dexter resulted in the death of Leon Mainjoy, one of the crew members aboard the I'm Alone. The dispute gave way to diplomatic negotiation among the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. When these efforts failed, Canadian authorities submitted a case to international arbitrators under Article IV of the liquor smuggling convention concluded between the United States and Great Britain on 23 January 1924. Upon conclusion of the case the appointed team of arbitrators issued a joint final report. This report upheld the United States' defense that the vessel and its cargo of alcohol were American owned, and therefore that the owners should not be compensated. The commission also decided that the United States should be held liable for any damages sustained by the captain and crew of the ship. The result was a payment of $25,000 to the captain and the crew members and another $25,000 to the Canadian government. This thesis will use the case of the rumrunner I'm Alone as an example of some of the problems encountered during national prohibition. The major questions presented address how national prohibition became a reality in America, how the United States attempted to enforce the eighteenth amendment at sea, and how the case of the I'm Alone instigated international litigation pertaining to the enforcement of this legislation.