U.S. Whistleblowers First Got Government Protection in 1777Breaking News
tags: impeachment, Trump, whistleblower, inquiry, Continental Navy, 1777
The U.S. government has long made protecting whistleblowers a priority. In fact, just seven months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress passed what Allison Stanger, author of Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump, called the “world’s first whistleblower protection law.”
The whistleblowers who sought protection were 10 American sailors and marines who had reported improper behavior by the Continental Navy’s most powerful man.
Having already answered the call of the new nation to take up arms against Great Britain, the officers gathered below the deck of the USS Warren on February 19, 1777 to sign a petition to the Continental Congress documenting abuses by their commander, Commodore Esek Hopkins. Lacking any legal protections for speaking out, the men understood that they could be branded as traitors for denouncing the highest-ranking American naval officer in the midst of war.
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