Set sail with Commander Shick Reply

Marissa Gugala- 1851 Staff

Professor Paul DeBole hosted speaker Nathanial Shick on Tuesday, April 9 in Stoller.  Shick is the commander of the U.S.S. Constitution and has been in the United States Navy for 19 years.  The U.S.S. Constitution is, as Commander Shick described her, “…a U.S. native.”  She gained her prestige and fame over the course of many naval battles, specifically the battle of 1812.

At the time of the American Revolution, on the federal level, the country did not have the shipbuilding capacity it needed.  The U.S. relied on its maritime cities such as Salem, Gloucester, Boston, and others to provide subscription frigates.  Money was raised and then the frigates were turned over to the continental congress to manage the campaign.

According to Shick, at the time the Articles of Confederation were signed, the U.S. had the second largest merchant fleet.  “Our livelihood was dependent upon the maritime trade at the time,” he said.  After the U.S. Constitution was signed, President Washington petitioned Congress in 1794 for initial funds for six frigates.  “Three which are 44-guns…and three were 36-guns.  The Constitution was one of the 44-gun ships of the time,” said Shick.

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