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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of the Modern Navy

Gordon Carpenter O'Gara

published by
Princeton University Press 1943

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 1

This site is not affiliated with the US Naval Academy.

 p. ix  Preface

Here is an attempt to show the rise of the American Navy as it is known today. In this growth Theodore Roosevelt played a major role, for while he neither started the "New Navy" of steam and steel nor brought it to perfection, he did perform a valuable service by indicating the direction of future growth. His administration saw the opening of the era of the super-battleship. By his unparalleled personal activity he made people "Navy-conscious" and assured a better informed, if not always sympathetic, audience for future requests to meet the needs of the Navy.

The limits of this study obviously make it impossible to develop in detail the political motives behind the President's naval program or the Congressional politics involved in carrying it out. Therefore, I have confined myself almost entirely to the presentation of a simple account of the development of the United States Navy from 1901 to 1909.

I have attempted to get at both the official story of the subject as found in the Annual Reports of the Navy Department, Congressional hearings, official documents, etc., and also the views of outsiders and the unofficial opinions of men in the naval administration. These were to be found particularly in newspaper and magazine articles of the time, memoirs, letters and more general books. These two stories were often at variance, but by experience I found that the truth usually was someplace between the two extreme claims. This was Roosevelt's opinion and was nearly always borne out by later events.

I wish to thank the publishers and authors who have permitted quotation from their works, as indicated in footnotes.

 p. x  I take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to The Rise of American Naval Power, by Harold and Margaret Sprout. Furthermore, Professor and Mrs. Sprout very kindly gave me access to their notes and were of indispensable assistance in advising me and suggesting improvements and changes. I also wish to thank Mr. Datus C. Smith, Jr., and Miss Virginia Heide of Princeton University Press, for exceeding their duties as editors to help me, and Professor Dana Gardner Munro, Director of the School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University, for helping to make this publication possible. I appreciate the efforts and suggestions of Mr. Malcolm O. Young, Reference Librarian of the Princeton University Library, Miss Nora E. Cordingley of the Roosevelt Memorial Library in New York, and Captain Dudley W. Knox of the Office of Naval Records and Library. And I want to thank Rear Admiral J. B. Oldendorf, U. S. N., who enabled me to work at the Library of the Naval War College at Newport, R. I., as well as Captain K. C. McIntosh, S. C., U. S. N. (Ret.), Officer-in‑Charge of the Navy Supply Corps School, who made available to me many of his personal notes and suggestions. To all others who assisted me in any way, many thanks.

G. C. O'G.

Princeton, N. J.
March 30, 1942

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Page updated: 20 Dec 14