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Establishing the Navy

In 1794, Congress exercised its constitutional power “to provide and maintain a navy” and ordered the construction and manning of six frigates. Naval forces of the American Revolution had been disbanded, leaving America’s commercial ships easy prey to pirates operating in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas. The Navy’s mission, then as now, was to protect the nation’s interests on the high seas.

1 Image Bill to Establish the Department of the Navy, April 11, 1798 View All Images