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This Day in Boston History
March 27th, 1794
The Navy and the USS Constitution
After the United
States won its freedom from Britain with the Treaty of Paris, peace
had yet to be achieved on the seas. The US Navy had ceased operations.
Followers of Jefferson, suspicious of a standing military, thought it
more expeditious to pay ransom to pirates than finance a peacetime navy.
As US shipping routes were disrupted and as a trade debt began to grow,
support grew for reconstituting the US Navy. On this day the United
States' Congress did exactly that, by authorizing construction of six
frigates to help protect American merchant fleets from attacks by Algerian
pirates and from harassment by British and French forces.
The vessels were designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox and built
at six different sites. The contract for one of those ships, the USS
CONSTITUTION, was given to Edmond Hartt's Shipyard in Boston.