At the end of the American Revolution, in 1783, the
United States began to send ships across the globe in an effort to bolster its fledgling economy. By 1785 the Continental Navy of the Revolution had been dissolved, leading to these ships sailing unprotected in international waters, a move which eventually lead to the creation of the USS Constitution. During this time, off of the coast of Northern Africa, merchant ships were in need of naval protection leading Congress to authorize a new navy in 1794. As part of this "new navy" six frigates were ordered, the last remaining of which is the legendary USS Constitution. On March 27, 1794 the Naval Armament Act was passed and an order was placed with Edmund Hartt's Shipyard for the ship, costing just over $300,000. On November 1, 1794 the Constitution was laid down, and she was launched on October 21, 1797. Emerging as a ferocious, heavily armed vessel, the USS Constitution was on her way to becoming the legend she is today.