Benjamin W. Crowninshield (1772-1851)
5th Secretary of the Navy, 16 January 1815 - 30 September 1818
Benjamin Williams Crowninshield was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on 27 December 1772. Son of a sea captain and merchant, he worked in the family shipping business, served at sea, and was also active in politics. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1811 and the state Senate in 1812.
Crowninshield became Secretary of the Navy in January 1815, at the end of the War of 1812, and managed the transition to a peacetime force. This included implementation of the new Board of Commissioners administrative system and the building of several ships of the line, the backbone of a much enhanced Navy. He also oversaw strategy and naval policy for the brief, and very successful war with Algiers in 1815.
After leaving Navy office, Crowninshield returned to business and political affairs in Massachusetts, prospering in both. In addition to serving two more terms in the Massachusetts House, he was also elected to four terms the United States Congress during the 1820s. Benjamin Crowninshield died on 3 February 1851.
USS Crowninshield (DD-134), 1919-1940, was named in honor of Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Crowninshield.
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