This thesis will examine the way that two particular pirates were pawns in the changing political and economic world of South Carolina on the one hand and the British Empire on the other. This allows some conclusions to be drawn about the direction that the empire was taking at this time and the North American colonial participation in this transition. This shift involved legal definitions, but also involved looking at the pirates in a different way. A good example of this is the comment of Judge Nicholas Trott, who presided over the case of Stede Bonnet in South Carolina in 1718. He declared that the word pirate had once meant "a maritime knight," but now the pirate was "a sea-rover...asting hither and thither to do mischief." The British Empire turned on those who used to be friends and the reasons for that reversal may suggest the growing power of wealth during the Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1730). While the pirates were used as privateers during times of war, during times of peace they became a liability. These changes sometimes occurred within a matter of hours. Some men were lost in this shift. Most notable was William Kidd, executed in 1701, in order to create peace and secure trade. Although Kidd's case is well-known, the North American colonies' relationship to the pirates has been relatively unexplored; yet it is crucial to comprehending piracy's role in the transatlantic community of the early eighteenth century. The life and trial of Stede Bonnet (1718), who was usually dismissed as eccentric in pirate lore, will be examined in order to understand the complex relationship between the colonial government of South Carolina and the colonies' rise as a center of vital trade. Ultimately, when the pirates stood in the way of the government, they were executed, despite blurred legal lines. Despite any official changes in the status of piracy, what persisted were the images of the pirates. The more criminalized the pirates were (according to law), the more mythical the pirates became. In the fictional literature, today as in the past, pirates have maintained a hold over the imagination. The hold is also apparent in scholarly literature, where the study of piracy sometimes becomes secondary to a debate about the true character of pirates.