A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...
of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...
. Named by President George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...
after the Constitution of the United States of America
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...
, she is the world's oldest floating commissioned naval vessel. Launched in 1797, Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794
Naval Act of 1794
The Act to Provide a Naval Armament, also known as the Naval Act, was passed by the United States Congress on March 27, 1794 and established the country's first naval force, which eventually became the United States Navy...
and the third constructed. Joshua Humphreys
Joshua Humphreys was an influential and successful ship builder in the United States.Humphreys was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania and died in the same place. He is the son of Daniel Humphreys and Hannah Wynne . He was brother to Charles Humphreys...
designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ship
The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they generally possess the heaviest firepower and armor and are traditionally much larger than other naval vessels...
s, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period.