Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
To Master the Boundless SeaThe U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jason W. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640440.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

’Twixt the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

’Twixt the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

(p.140) 5 ’Twixt the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
To Master the Boundless Sea

Jason W. Smith

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the full emergence of hydrographic surveying, charts, and knowledge of the marine environment as a strategic imperative that underpinned American empire broadly and naval operations specifically during the Spanish-American-Philippine War, 1898-1902. The emergence of a modern steam-powered, steel-hulled fleet complemented new ideas about the United States’ role in the world and the size of its navy in the writings of the naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan. During the War with Spain, a close look at the operations of the U.S. Navy’s blockade of Cuba highlights the significance of the marine environment amid a poorly-charted, circuitous and dangerous coastal waters and the necessity of accurate knowledge of these waters for tactical, operational, and strategic reasons. The Navy found itself similarly ill-prepared in the Philippines. This chapter argues that the practice of naval operations and warfare during this war showed the marine environment to be a dangerous natural enemy, every bit as if not more fearsome than the largely inept Spanish enemy. The Americans won the war rather easily and with great consequence for America’s imperial ascendancy, but the conflict had also made clear that American sea power did not rest far from knowledge of the sea itself.

Keywords:   Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, Cuba, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Sea power, Naval operations, Blockade, Natural enemy

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .