Naval History and Heritage Command

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Smith, Robert

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(1757-1842). Secretary of the Navy, 1801-1809

Robert Smith (1757-1842) --

2nd Secretary of the Navy, 27 July 1801 - 7 March 1809


Robert Smith was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on 3 November 1757. He served in the Continental Army during the American War of Independence. Following graduation from Princeton in 1781, he practiced law and was active in Maryland politics during the next two decades.


On 27 July 1801, Robert Smith became Secretary of the Navy in the Jefferson Administration. He held that position throughout the 1801-05 war with Tripoli. In 1809, Smith left his Navy post to become Secretary of State, remaining in that office until April 1811. He thereafter was active in Maryland affairs. Robert Smith died in Baltimore, Maryland, on 26 November 1842.


USS Robert Smith (DD-324), 1921-1931, was named in honor of Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith.