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This design gave the hull a greater strength than a more lightly built frigate.

Humphreys' design was based on his realization that the fledgling United States could not match the European states in the size of their navies.

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Ships of this era had no permanent battery of guns such as those of modern Navy ships.

The guns and cannons were designed to be completely portable and often were exchanged between ships as situations warranted.

Constitutions stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy's role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command. In 1793 alone, eleven American ships were captured and their crews and stores held for ransom.

To combat this problem, proposals were made for warships to protect American shipping, resulting in the Naval Act of 1794.

Constitution was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed.