Alfred Thayer Mahan was an author and strategist for the United States Navy. He graduated the Naval Academy in 1859 and would go on to head the Newport Naval Academy. As an author, he wrote many influential books, including The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783. In this book, Mahan explained that if a nation held “Sea Power”, or naval dominance, it would also have global dominance. In his analysis, Mahan theorized that growing industrial development would create excess goods for which new markets needed to be found. These markets would undoubtedly be in distant ports across large bodies of water and to ensure the safety of merchant ships a strong naval guardian and escort would be paramount (Divine 610).
Mahan’s writings resonated with a wide constituency that included policymakers Benjamin F. Tracy, Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt (Divine 610). Benjamin Tracy became secretary of the navy in 1889 and began building the powerful fleet Mahan thought to be critical for American economic interests. The U.S. navy, ranked 12th in the world around 1890, would jump up to 3rd place by the start of the new century (Divine 611). This would cement America’s place as a global superpower.
2. “Remember the Maine” –
“Remember the Maine!” was the first half of a slogan, the latter half being “To Hell with Spain!”, chanted by those wanting war with Spain after a U.S. naval ship mysteriously exploded. The USS Maine was a battleship sent to Havana, Cuba in 1898 by President William McKinley as a precautionary measure to protect American citizens due to a break out of riots in the area; it was also a show of U.S naval strength. On February 15th, 1898 an explosion occurred in the Maine while it was anch...
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...as the Allies would surreptitiously come to their own arrangements at the Peace Conference at Paris regarding Germany’s penalties. The Treaty of Versailles would stipulate that colonial territories held by the Central Powers would be divided up amongst Britain and France while Germany would be forced to pay $33 billion in reparations and accept responsibility for the war (Divine 713).
Most of the terms in the Fourteen Points would not be fulfilled or become compromised, like the “League of Nations” which was initially approved and created but didn’t include the United States as a member and eventually dissolved due to inefficacy. However, the League would inspire its more accomplished successor, the United Nations and “Wilson’s Fourteen Points set still stand as the most powerful expression of the idealist strain in United States diplomacy (“Milestones 1914-1920”).”
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