The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan

The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan

The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan

The Ambiguous Relationship: Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan

Synopsis

Roosevelt and Mahan: Retrospect and Prospect Like Father, Like Son Planning for War and Empire Geopolotics and Anglo-American Relations Muted Differences over Caribbean Issues Roosevelt Unlimbers His Big Guns Refighting the War of 1812--in 1905 Private Property and Arbitration Reorganizing the Navy Cruise around the World Darkening Horizons The Ambiguous Relationship Roosevelt-Mahan Correspondence Selected Bibliography Index

Excerpt

A casual perusal of the standard works dealing with Roosevelt, Mahan and sea power suggests that most historians believe, in varying degrees, that Mahan "exerted a powerful and unique influence over Roosevelt." Henry Pringle refers to Mahan as "the naval authority whose views influenced Roosevelt profoundly." William D. Puleston is positively hagiographic. "These two vigorous men," he states, "were not only in accord upon naval matters but upon the larger aspects of national life. They entertained almost identical views on foreign policy, expansion, naval administration, armaments and arbitration." William R. Braisted, in more restrained fashion, echoes Puleston by crediting Roosevelt, "already a convinced follower of Mahan," with building the New Navy and shaping it into an effective instrument of war and diplomacy. William E. Livezey doesn't discuss the Mahan-Roosevelt relationship in detail but implies that a substantial degree of consensus existed between the two men. Richard Challener contends that most U.S. naval officers were receptive to Mahan's ideas and outlook. Peter Karsten likewise maintains that "expansionists" in the 1890s, Roosevelt among them, "avidly received the Captain into their midst, and proclaimed him their spokesman."

Some historians, recently, have been a bit more cautious. William Harbaugh, for instance, though agreeing that certain policies of Theodore Roosevelt "reflected the influence of Mahan," maintains that the "controlling intelligence" was Roosevelt's. William C. Widenor's perceptive study of Henry Cabot Lodge discusses Mahan's impact upon Lodge and Roosevelt, particularly during the 1895-1900 period. Although Mahan and Lodge "were not personally close," Lodge held "Ma han's . . .

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