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By Alfred Thayer Mahan

The background of Sea energy is essentially, notwithstanding in no way exclusively, a story of contests among international locations, of mutual rivalries, of violence often culminating in battle. The profound impression of sea trade upon the wealth and energy of nations was once sincerely obvious lengthy earlier than the genuine rules which ruled its progress and prosperity have been detected. To safe to one's personal humans a disproportionate percentage of such advantages, each attempt used to be made to exclude others, both through the peaceable legislative equipment of monopoly or prohibitory rules, or, whilst those failed, by means of direct violence. The conflict of pursuits, the offended emotions roused through conflicting makes an attempt hence to suitable the bigger proportion, if now not the total, of the benefits of trade, and of far away unsettled advertisement areas, resulted in wars. nonetheless, wars bobbing up from different explanations were vastly changed of their behavior and factor via the regulate of the ocean. accordingly the background of sea energy, whereas embracing in its huge sweep all that has a tendency to make a humans nice upon the ocean or by way of the ocean, is basically an army historical past; and it truly is during this element that it'll be frequently, although no longer solely, seemed within the following pages.
A examine of the army background of the prior, resembling this, is enjoined by way of nice army leaders as necessary to right rules and to the skilful behavior of conflict sooner or later. Napoleon names one of the campaigns to be studied through the aspiring soldier, these of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar, to whom gunpowder was once unknown; and there's a giant contract between specialist writers that, whereas the various stipulations of conflict fluctuate from age to age with the development of guns, there are particular teachings within the tuition of background which stay consistent, and being, accordingly, of common program, could be increased to the rank of common ideas. for a similar cause the learn of the ocean heritage of the prior might be discovered instructive, by means of its representation of the overall ideas of maritime conflict, although the good alterations which were caused in naval guns through the medical advances of the previous part century, and by way of the advent of steam because the rationale power.
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As has before been said, it was not until danger stared them in the face that the burgomasters were willing to pay for their defences. While the republican government lasted, however, this economy was practised least of all upon the fleet; and until the death of John De Witt, in 1612, and the peace with England in 1674, the Dutch navy was in point of numbers and equipment able to make a fair show against the combined navies of England and France. Its efficiency at this time undoubtedly saved the country from the destruction planned by the two kings.

Here, then, is seen pure, absolute, uncontrolled power gathering up into its hands all the reins for the guidance of a nation's course, and proposing so to direct it as to make, among other things, a great sea power. To enter into the details of Colbert's action is beyond our purpose. It is enough to note the chief part played by the government in building up the sea power of the State, and that this very great man looked not to any one of the bases on which it rests to the exclusion of the others, but embraced them all in his wise and provident administration.

More important even than the size of the navy is the question of its institutions, favoring a healthful spirit and activity, and providing for rapid development in time of war by an adequate reserve of men and of ships and by measures for drawing out that general reserve power which has before been pointed to, when considering the character and pursuits of the people. Undoubtedly under this second head of warlike CHAPTER 1. DISCUSSION OF THE ELEMENTS OF SEA POWER. 39 The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660−1783 preparation must come the maintenance of suitable naval stations, in those distant parts of the world to which the armed shipping must follow the peaceful vessels of commerce.

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