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Alfred Thayer Mahan born on September 27 1840 in West Point New York was son of dean of the faculty at the United States Military Academy and one of the most important naval historians and strategists of his time Although both Philip A Crowl and Paul M Kennedy have their own opinions on the degree to which Mahan influenced society and naval doctrine as a strategist and historian the validity and brilliance of some of his ideas cant be denied Mahan was a firm believer that sea power was the single most important factor in determining national dominance He said sea power was the command of the sea through naval superiority His second important principle concentrated on the importance of shipping and commerce to national economy with a large fleet to protect this overseas activity Mahan believed not only in the importance of the navy as a fighting force but also as a tool of national policy Philiip A Crowls assessment of Alfred Thayer Mahan is skeptical at best He gives credit only where credit is absolutely due and never in the form of compliment Crowl believed Mahans failure as a logican and therefore as a historian was the direct result of his methodology he began his labors with an insight a light dawning on his inner consciousness the insight hardened into a predetermined conclusion facts were then mustered as illustration and proof Crowl goes on to argue that There was no pretense on the historians part to scientific objectivity nor any claim to having reached his conclusions on the basis of exhaustive research Crowl seems to think that much of Mahans theory was based on whim stemming from his inner conscious which turned quickly turned into a final conclusions with out any real proof supporting their validity Mahan according to Crowl was constantly confusing his necessary with his sufficient causes Crowl for example said that sea power was the necessary cause
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