Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan (məhăn´), 1840–1914, U.S. naval officer and historian, b. West Point, N.Y. A Union naval officer in the Civil War, he later lectured on naval history and strategy at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., of which he was president (1886–89, 1892–93). Out of his lectures grew his two major works on the historical significance of sea power—The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783 (1890) and The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812 (2 vol., 1892). In these he argued that naval power was the key to success in international politics; the nation that controlled the seas held the decisive factor in modern warfare. Mahan's work appeared at a time when the nations of Europe and Japan were engaged in a fiercely competitive arms race. His books were quickly translated into several languages and were widely read by political leaders, especially in Germany, where they were used as a justification for a naval buildup. In the United States, Theodore Roosevelt and other proponents of a big navy and overseas expansion were much influenced by Mahan's writings. Among his many works are biographies of David Farragut and Horatio Nelson and the autobiographical From Sail to Steam (1907, repr. 1968).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Mahan: The Life and Work of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S.N.
W. D. Puleston.
Yale University Press, 1939
The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan
Richard W. Turk.
Greenwood Press, 1987
History of the Modern American Navy: From 1883 through Pearl Harbor
Donald W. Mitchell.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1946
The Atlantic System: The Story of Anglo-American Control of the Seas
Forrest Davis.
Reynal & Hitchcock, 1973
Military Heritage of America
R. Ernest Dupuy; Trevor N. Dupuy.
McGraw-Hill, 1956
FREE! The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain
A. T. Mahan.
Little Brown and Company, vol.1, 1897
FREE! The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain
A. T. Mahan.
Little, Brown, vol.2, 1897
FREE! The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783
A. T. Mahan.
Little, Brown, 1918 (12th edition)
FREE! The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812
A. T. Mahan.
Little, Brown, vol.1, 1912 (14th edition)
Global Boundaries
Clive H. Schofield.
Routledge, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Problem of Asia and the World View of Admiral Mahan"
The Course of American Democratic Thought
Ralph Henry Gabriel; Robert H. Walker.
Greenwood Press, 1986 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 26 "The "Mission of America" in the Progressive Era"
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