By Alfred Thayer Mahan
The background of Sea strength is basically, even though in no way exclusively, a story of contests among international locations, of mutual rivalries, of violence often culminating in warfare. The profound impact of sea trade upon the wealth and power of nations used to be truly visible lengthy sooner than the genuine rules which ruled its development and prosperity have been detected. To safe to one's personal humans a disproportionate percentage of such merits, each attempt used to be made to exclude others, both by way of the peaceable legislative tools of monopoly or prohibitory laws, or, while those failed, by way of direct violence. The conflict of pursuits, the indignant emotions roused via conflicting makes an attempt therefore to acceptable the bigger proportion, if no longer the total, of some great benefits of trade, and of far-off unsettled advertisement areas, ended in wars. nonetheless, wars coming up from different explanations were significantly changed of their behavior and factor through the regulate of the ocean. consequently the background of sea strength, 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 heritage; and it's during this element that it'll be in most cases, notwithstanding no longer solely, appeared within the following pages.
A learn of the army background of the prior, similar to this, is enjoined by means of nice army leaders as necessary to right principles and to the skilful behavior of battle 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 vast contract between expert writers that, whereas the various stipulations of struggle range from age to age with the growth of guns, there are particular teachings within the tuition of historical past which stay consistent, and being, for that reason, of common program, may be increased to the rank of common rules. for a similar cause the research of the ocean background of the previous may be discovered instructive, via its representation of the overall ideas of maritime struggle, though the good adjustments which have been led to in naval guns through the medical advances of the previous part century, and via the advent of steam because the reason power.
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Thus was the power of the sea, whose workings, because more silent than the clash of arms, are less often noted, though lying clearly enough on the surface. It can scarcely be denied that England's uncontrolled dominion of the seas, during almost the whole period chosen for our subject, was by long odds the chief among the military factors that determined the final issue. (1) So far, however, was this influence from being foreseen after Utrecht, that France for twelve years, moved by personal exigencies of her rulers, sided with England against Spain and when Fleuri came unto power in 1726, though thus policy was reversed, the navy of France received no attention, and the only blow at England was the establishment of a Bourbon prince, a natural enemy to her, upon the throne of the two Sicilies in 1736.
The reason for this was that the new king was a minor; and the regent, being bitterly at enmity with the king of Spain, to injure him and preserve his own power, entered into alliance with England. He aided her to establish Austria, the hereditary enemy of France, in Naples and Sicily to the detriment of Spain, and in union with her destroyed the Spanish navy and dock−yards. Here again is found a personal ruler disregarding the sea interests of France, ruining a natural ally, and directly aiding, as Louis XIV.
La Serre: Essais Hist. et Crit. sur la Marine Francaise. ; but the mishaps of which they were full were too recent to be forgotten by our ministers. Thanks to a wretched hesitation, fleets, which had rightly alarmed England, became reduced to ordinary proportions. Intrenching themselves in a false economy, the ministry claimed that, by reason of the excessive expenses necessary to maintain the fleet, the admirals must be ordered to maintain the 'greatest circumspection,' as though in war half measures have not always led to disasters.