Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


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Committee Chair

Henry McKiven, Ph.D.


This thesis is a study of the history of early American submarine development, from the American Revolution through the American Civil War, with a brief discussion of what happened afterwards. Early American-made submarines are often not studied in detail with the exception of the most famous vessels like the H. L. Hunley and the Turtle. Few people realize just how many submarine projects were worked on in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and many do not know anything about these submarines at all. This paper will cover the history of submarine development, the men behind them, what contemporaries thought of them, and ultimately what effect, if any, they had on American history. Because information on some of these submarines is scarce, some educated guesses and speculation will be used where necessary. The reasons for submarine development and what compelled people to develop submarines will also be discussed. In writing this paper, I hope to provide a better understanding of the long history of American submarines and encourage others to research these early submarines, perhaps making discoveries of their own.