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By Alfred Thayer Mahan

The background of Sea energy is essentially, although under no circumstances completely, a story of contests among international locations, of mutual rivalries, of violence often culminating in battle. The profound impact of sea trade upon the wealth and energy of nations was once sincerely visible lengthy sooner than the real rules which ruled its progress and prosperity have been detected. To safe to one's personal humans a disproportionate proportion of such advantages, each attempt was once made to exclude others, both via the peaceable legislative tools of monopoly or prohibitory rules, or, while those failed, by way of direct violence. The conflict of pursuits, the offended emotions roused through conflicting makes an attempt therefore to suitable the bigger proportion, if now not the total, of some great benefits of trade, and of far away unsettled advertisement areas, ended in wars. however, wars bobbing up from different explanations were tremendously converted of their behavior and factor via the keep watch over of the ocean. consequently the background of sea strength, whereas embracing in its vast sweep all that has a tendency to make a humans nice upon the ocean or through the ocean, is basically an army background; and it's during this point that it'll be ordinarily, notwithstanding no longer solely, seemed within the following pages.
A research of the army historical past of the previous, akin to this, is enjoined by means of nice army leaders as necessary to right principles and to the skilful behavior of conflict sooner or later. Napoleon names one of the campaigns to be studied via the aspiring soldier, these of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar, to whom gunpowder used to be unknown; and there's a massive contract between expert writers that, whereas a few of the stipulations of battle fluctuate from age to age with the development of guns, there are particular teachings within the tuition of historical past which stay consistent, and being, as a result, of common program, will be increased to the rank of normal rules. for a similar cause the learn of the ocean historical past of the earlier could be came across instructive, via its representation of the overall rules of maritime struggle, although the good alterations which were caused in naval guns via the medical advances of the earlier part century, and via the creation of steam because the purpose power.
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In the former particular he differs from the French, who were ever longingly looking back to the delights of their pleasant land; in the latter, from the Spaniards, whose range of interest and ambition was too narrow for the full evolution of the possibilities of a new country. The character and the necessities of the Dutch led them naturally to plant colonies; and by the year 1650 they had in the East Indies, in Africa, and in America a large number, only to name which would be tedious. They were then far ahead of England in this matter.

28 The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660−1783 of sea power. The various traits of a country and its people which have so far been considered constitute the natural characteristics with which a nation, like a man, begins its career; the conduct of the government in turn corresponds to the exercise of the intelligent will−power, which, according as it is wise, energetic and persevering, or the reverse, causes success or failure in a man's life or a nation's history. It would seem improbable that a government in full accord with the natural bias of its people would most successfully advance its growth in every respect; and, in the matter of sea power, the most brilliant successes have followed where there has been intelligent direction by a government fully imbued with the spirit of the people and conscious of its true general bent.

DISCUSSION OF THE ELEMENTS OF SEA POWER. 38 The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660−1783 reason for this fatal coincidence. It is not natural that among so many honorable men there should so often be found admirals and captains incurring such a reproach. If the name of some of them is to this very day sadly associated with the memory of our disasters, we may be sure the fault is not wholly their own. We must rather blame the nature of the operations in which they were engaged, and that system of defensive war prescribed by the French government, which Pitt, in the English Parliament, proclaimed to be the forerunner of certain ruin.

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