Today is U.S. Coast Guard Day.
After the Continental Navy had been disbanded in 1785, there was no proviso for a permanent maritime force in the U.S. Constitution.
In 1790, Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Department of Treasury Secretary, founded the service that would become the Coast Guard.
Established to enforce tariff laws and manned by crews of civilians, the fleet was known as the system of cutters, named for the type of vessel used: armed, usually single-masted ships at least 65 feet long.
From 1798 through 1800, the U.S. and France fought an undeclared naval war known as the “Quasi-War,” precipitated by the U.S. reneging on its payments to France for loans it received during the American Revolutionary War.
Congress passed legislation authorizing President John Adams to reestablish the U.S. Navy and conscript revenue cutters from the Treasury Department during the war.
In September of 1800, Adams and Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, signed a treaty ending hostilities between the two countries.
The Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life-Saving Service, created in 1848 to save shipwrecked sailors, merged in 1915 to become the U.S. Coast Guard.
Happy U.S. Coast Guard Day!