The Rise Of The U.S. Navy

The United States Navy is one of the oldest components of the Armed Forces. The official establishment of the U.S. Navy took place on October 13, 1775, with a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress. That resolution established what was then called The Continental Navy. A decade later in 1785, the Continental Navy was dissolved. However, just 9 years later the Naval Act of 1794 re-established what they now called the United States Navy.

Where Was The Navy Established?
A great question, without a great answer. Two towns in Massachusetts, Beverly and Marblehead, each contend that the schooner Hannah had it’s homeport in their town. It is agreed that each town did contribute to the vessel, with Marblehead supplying the crew and Beverly outfitting the ship. In addition, Philadelphia, PA, Whitehall, NY, and Providence, RI all make claims to being the original location of the Navy’s establishment. What say the Navy? The Navy has no official position on the claim.

Who Forged The Navy’s Founding?
That would be none other than our first president, George Washington! Washington sent a letter to the Continental Congress which spearheaded the founding of the Continental Navy. In his letter he argued that it would be beneficial and advantageous to disrupt British supply lines at sea. Interestingly enough, the aforementioned Hannah and a handful of other flotilla sailed out prior to the Second Continental Congress officially established the Continental Navy.

Why Did The Navy Dissolve?
The predominant reason the Navy was established in the first place was as a utility for the impending battle with Great Britain for independence which would evolve into the Revolutionary War. Even before the war was won, the size of the Continental Navy shrunk significantly, reaching only two active warships in 1781. After the Revolutionary War concluded, there was little incentive or financial support to maintain a navy.

How Did The U.S. Navy Rise Again?
For 9 years, the United States went without a Navy. However, pirates are to thank for the return of the Navy. Prior to the schism between Great Britain and the then-13 colonies, the British Royal Navy protected merchant ships from attack and seizure at the hands of pirates. Of course after the Revolutionary War, that protection stopped. Pirates saw opportunity and took it, specifically Barbary pirates hailing from North Africa. Three attacks prompted action from Congress, who revived the renamed United States Navy in 1794. Six new warships were constructed, one of those being the USS Constitution, which is still floating in Boston Harbor.

That’s just the beginning. Over the years the U.S. Navy continues to play an integral role in the security and defense of the United States. The U.S. Navy has grown and changed since its establishment, dissolution and re-establishment. As warfare and technology have developed and changed, so has the U.S. Navy. Learn more about the U.S. Navy here.

 

Posted on October 8 2018 in Blog

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