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To Master the Boundless SeaThe U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire$
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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

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Making War upon the Chart

Making War upon the Chart

(p.166) 6 Making War upon the Chart
To Master the Boundless Sea

Jason W. Smith

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the place of charts and hydrographic surveying in the consolidation of a formal American empire after 1898 and the central place of environmental knowledge in the broader strategic debates concerning American empire in the post war period, 1899-1903. It follows the work of surveying vessels off Cuba and the Philippines, the emerging role of the Hydrographic Office and its leaders, and the strategic debates among officer-students at the United States Naval War College and the Navy’s top leadership in the General Board of the Navy in recognizing and debating the importance of the marine environment generally and the specific strategic features of various harbors and coastlines from the Caribbean to the Western Pacific. The chapter argues that charts, hydrographic surveying, and a larger cartographic discourse were central to the geography of American empire, particularly in projecting American sea power into the Western Pacific and the Caribbean.

Keywords:   Empire, Strategy, Cuba, Philippines, Naval War College, General Board of the Navy, Sea Power

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