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In 1890, a profound shift occurred in the United States. A nation that had traditionally seen itself as contained within the continent, or what I refer to as inward looking, was now beginning to turn its attention outward to the rest of the world. This shift entailed a massive growth of the US Navy and a new emphasis on imperialist foreign policy. In this paper, I will explore how this shift occurred by looking at the role of ideas and the process through which they are translated into policy. Specifically, I will tell the story of the navalists, who produced the imperialist ideas that were geared towards the navy and then advocated for their acceptance in the government. The ideas of Alfred Thayer Mahan about the role of sea power are crucial in understanding this puzzling turn outwards.
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Weber, Maeve Grogan, "From Sea to Shining Sea: The Navalists and the Rise of American Sea Power" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 34.
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