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Born to Rule the Seas: The Navy during Andrew Jackson's Presidency and the Genesis of American Naval Power

Berube, Claude (2018) Born to Rule the Seas: The Navy during Andrew Jackson's Presidency and the Genesis of American Naval Power. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The 1830s is an overlooked period in American naval history, overshadowed by the more popular and active War of 1812 and Civil War. Nevertheless, the personnel, operations, technologies, policies, and vision of the Navy of that era, which was emerging from the Age of Sail, are important components of its evolution, setting it on the long path to its status as a global maritime power. The decade also dispels any notion that Andrew Jackson was ambivalent toward the Navy. By Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829, the Navy had engaged with two major powers, defended American shipping, conducted anti-piracy operations, and provided long-term, overseas presence. It had not, however, changed much since it had first engaged with a European power in the Quasi-War. The Navy began to transform during Jackson’s administration due in part to the president’s activist role and in part to the emerging officer corps, which sought to professionalize its own ranks, modernize the platforms on which it sailed, and define its own role within national policy and in the broader global maritime commons. Jackson had built his reputation as a soldier, but he quickly recognized as president the necessity for a navy that could foster his policies. To expand American commerce, he needed a navy that could defend shipping as well as conduct punitive raids or deterrence missions. Jackson developed a clear, concise naval strategy that policymakers and officers alike could seize and execute. Jackson provided a vision for the Navy, interceded to resolve naval disciplinary challenges, and directed naval operations. The junior officers were emboldened by the populist era to challenge traditional, conservative thinking. They identified contemporary challenges, foresaw future opportunities for the Navy, and made recommendations for change, primarily in magazines. They developed a collective vision that coincided with the national literary movement that recognized America’s great national destiny would rely upon the Navy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Depositing User: Claude Berube
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 11:48
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 11:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20633

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