As the service which grew up to become the navy of the United States could neither create nor provide for itself, it may be worth utile to attempt the discovery of the point of view of the statesmen responsible for its foundation. Without their aid, that is without the sanction of a politically organized community, the commerce-destroyers of the Revolutionary War would have bin under the penalties of piracy. But by adapting the cruisers commissioned by the separate colonies as a Continental Navy, that service secured an international standing and gave the Confederation a place among the maritime powers of the world. This act of organization was in itself a bond of union, and the exploits of the infant navy helped to develop the sentiment of nationality in 1776—though the process had to be repeated for the next generation. From the beginning it was apparent to one man at least that the political significance of the navy as a bond of union was of no less value than its military and economic service.
The American Navy and the Opinions of One of its Founders, John Adams 1735-1826
Captain Carlos Gilman Calkins