What does the ship in Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Old Ironsides" represent?

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Oliver Wendell Holmes read in the newspaper that the frigate, USS Constitution was going to become scrap metal.  The navy was going to dispose of the ship that was one of the six original frigates built for service. The Constitution’s career was distinguished, and Holmes was incensed and felt that the ship did not deserve such an end.

Holmes immediately wrote the poem “Old Ironsides” using her nickname for the title of the poem.  The poem was published in 1830. The public outcry based on the poem saved the Constitution. “Old Ironsides” prompted the preservation of the frigate who had served well in the War of 1812. The Constitution was triumphant over the ships of the British fleet earning her nickname.  Then, the U.S. Congress passed an act making her an historical landmark.

The United States Navy's three-masted frigate USS...

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