Congress Buys a Navy

Politics, Economics, and the Rise of American Naval Power, 1881-1921

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Congress Buys a Navy offers a new look at the nexus of U.S. politics, economics, and the funding and creation of what is thought of as the “modern” U.S. Navy. Filling in significant gaps in prior economic histories of the era, Paul Pedisich analyzes the role played by nine presidencies and cabinets, sixteen Navy secretaries, and countless U.S. congressmen whose work and actions shaped and funded our forces at sea.

Surveying the development of the new steel Navy from 1881 to 1921, Pedisich’s narrative begins with James Garfield’s appointment of William Hunt as Secretary of the Navy and the formation of the forty-seventh Congress in March 1881, and continues on to the reduction of the naval forces by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921.

While the main acts in U.S. political history often privilege the actions of the President and his cabinet, the author brings to light the individual rationales, voting blocs, agendas, and political intrigue that drove this process of making a modern Navy.

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