1776 – RECOGNIZING THAT A QUALITY NAVY REQUIRED JUST COMPENSATION FOR SAILORS, CONGRESS AUTHORIZE SHARING OF BOUNTY FROM CAPTURED ENEMY SHIPS
This Day In U.S. History October 30, 1776 – Struggle for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – The American Revolution: The Congress recognized the difficulty of recruitment for the continental Navy because of the more profitable service on privateers. It approved the sharing of one half the prize money from vessels captured by naval ships after November 1, 1776.
Without a decisive Naval force we can
do nothing definitive – and with it,
everything honorable and glorious.”
–George Washington to Marquis de Lafayette, 15 November 1781
When the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, the infant nation was in no position to defy British rule of the seas. Britain’s navy in 1776 was the world’s most powerful. States individually outfitted vessels of war and Congress established a navy, but it was a slow beginning. At no point in the conflict did the American naval forces have adequate resources to confront the Royal Navy on its own terms. The Royal Navy—once the protector of American shipping—now made every effort to suppress and destroy it.
The United States is a nation with a long maritime heritage. Until the advent of air travel in the mid-twentieth century, all Americans of European, African, and Asian ancestry came to North America by ship. For colonial America, the North Atlantic was the umbilical cord that connected the colonies to the mother country, Great Britain. Once Americans broke their political ties with Great Britain, the Atlantic became a new frontier, such as those in the North, West, and South, that offered the opportunity for expansion and potential avenues for a foreign invader.
Not surprisingly, Americans early on chose to establish a navy; in fact, they did so nine months before they declared themselves politically independent. To Americans, a navy was a symbol of their sovereignty, their national maturity, and their determination to fight for control of their seaboard frontier. Throughout its history, the United States has had a navy for all but nine years. More …
War of Independence 1775-1783: History of the Continental Navy