To win congressional support for new battleship construction Theodore Roosevelt set out to garner public support in spectacular fashion. He would stage grand naval demonstrations—including the Great White Fleet's cruise.
In 1907 Theodore Roosevelt faced a serious problem of presidential leadership. Two years earlier he had declared a battleship moratorium, but now needed a way to pressure Congress to resume his former naval buildup at an accelerated pace. He had considerable success during his first four years in office in achieving his diplomatic and military objectives, so much so that he reassured Congress in 1905 that once ten first-class battleships and auxiliary vessels already approved were completed, no further naval expansion would be necessary. Soon after making his announcement, however, changing world conditions unsettled the delicate international balance of power he had worked so hard to maintain.
TR's Use of PR to Strengthen the Navy
By Lori Lyn Bogle