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A Whiff of Cordite: Theodore Roosevelt and the Transoceanic Naval Arms Race, 1897-1909

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Theodore Roosevelt's most enduring contribution to American power and influence in the world was in the promotion and construction of a blue water navy. Although much has been written about Roosevelt's notion of a uniquely American imperial vocation, as well as of his social Darwinist conception of Great Power competition, the priority he awarded to American naval power was based above all on a dispassionate and pessimistic interpretation of the direction of international affairs between 1890 and 1909. Bracketed by the inauguration of German Weltpolitik on the one hand and the Japanese naval triumph at Tsushima on the other, Roosevelt's naval policy was not the product of a romantic imperial imagination but rather of a wholly objective appreciation of the most fundamental imperative of American national security for the near and distant future.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2008

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