The USS Constitution, the first great ship of the United States Navy, is still in commission since her launching in 1797 in Boston where she remains berthed today. She is the product of a chain of events linked to her namesake, the Constitution of the United States, to George Washington and to the man Washington relied on to command his army's artillery, Henry Knox. In this lecture, Capt. Manvel narrates the events that made Henry Knox the nation's first secretary of war, and discusses how Washington's belief in the rule of law drove his desire to fix the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation, leading ultimately to the creation of the Constitution of the United States. The listener will learn how Knox met Joshua Humphreys in Philadelphia and together they championed Humphreys' design of the 44-gun frigate to create the first ships of the United States Navy; and how the innovative features of the 44-gun frigate—its tougher, stronger hull, its longer gun decks, and its slicker under-bottom—allowed it to outgun most European ships in favorable conditions, and outmaneuver ships in light wind conditions. The listener will also learn of the men who sailed the USS Constitution and manned her guns, of the great captains who commanded her during her great exploits while executing the strategy of forward deployment that won everlasting fame for the United States Navy and access for American shipping so vital to a young America.
This lecture was recorded at the 2006 Objectivist Summer Conference in Boston, MA.