Author Information

Elizabeth George


Around noon on October 21, 1797, a crowd of men and women gathered at Hartt’s shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts to attend the launching of the USS Constitution. The Americans who witnessed the launching of the Constitution on that cold, overcast, autumn day must have marveled at the sight of the newly completed 44-gun frigate. Joshua Humphreys, a Philadelphian shipbuilder, designed the Constitution longer and thinner than the typical frigate of the time in order to facilitate the ship’s ability to sail with greater alacrity and precision through the ocean. Humphrey also ordered the ship’s hull to consist predominantly of live oak from Georgia, to help increase the Constitution’s durability. Crowds cheered with overpowering enthusiasm and pride as the ship slid into Boston Harbor. The launching of the USS Constitution was significant because it symbolized the United State’s potential as a world power.

Note on the Author

Elizabeth George is a senior majoring in History. This research was conducted during the summer of 2011 as an Adrian Tinsley Program Summer Grant. She presented this project at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

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