Progressives in Navy Blue

Maritime Strategy, American Empire, and the Transformation of U.S. Naval Identity, 1873–1898
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Published:May 15, 2018

This study examines how intellectual and institutional developments transformed the U.S. Navy from 1873 to 1898. The period was a dynamic quarter-century in which Americans witnessed their Navy evolve. Cultures of progress—clusters of ideas, beliefs, values, and practices pertaining to modern warfare and technology—guided the Navy's transformation.

The agents of naval transformation embraced a progressive ideology. They viewed science, technology, and expertise as the best means to effect change in a world contorted by modernizing and globalizing trends. Within the Navy’s progressive movement, two new cultures—Strategy and Mechanism—influenced the course of transformation. Although they shared progressive pedigrees, each culture embodied a distinctive vision for the Navy’s future. 

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Product Details
  • Subject: Naval History
  • Hardback : 432 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682471934
  • ISBN-13: 9781682471937
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 28.48 oz
  • “Captain Scott Mobley’s book comes at a fortuitous time. The Naval reform movement in the period written about here is of immense importance to understanding one of the factors that shaped American naval policy and grand strategy in the coming 20th century. This work provides essential context for that understanding. Naval officers would be well served to study the generation of officers examined here, a story little known or told, who helped literally to change the world.” —John T. Kuehn, Ph.D., Commander USN (retired), author of America’s First General Staff: A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the Navy, 1900-1950
  • “A fine study, offering sound new insights into the transformation of the U S Navy in the late 19th century, correcting what had been described as an “Old Guard” resistance to the “New Navy” advocates at the Naval War College and the ONI. Mobley establishes that the dispute was, instead, between technology-oriented leaders like Francis Ramsey and strategy-oriented ones like Luce and Mahan. And he correctly indicates that this tension “echoes to the present day.” —Peter Karsten, author of The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of Annapolis and the Emergence of Modern American Navalism
  • "Scott Mobley makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how and why the U.S. Navy underwent the most complete and thoroughgoing transformation of any of our military services in their histories. This is an important story persuasively told, as valuable for our current military leadership as for historians and public officials involved in military affairs." —Richard H. Kohn, Professor Emeritus of History and Peace, War, and Defense, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • "Captain Mobley’s Progressives in Navy Blue builds on welcome recent scholarship on what once been an overlooked era of naval history prior to the war with Spain. Mobley argues new institutions such as the Naval Institute, Office of Naval Intelligence, and Naval War College facilitated a strategic, anti-imperialistic worldview within the Navy’s officer corps that proved to be in the forefront of the progressive movement of the early 20th century. Mobley’s synthetic work, feeding off the scholarship of Robert Wiebe, Richard Hofstadter, John Hattendorf and others, should be added to the syllabi for courses on progressivism on college campuses throughout the land." —David F. Winkler, author of Incidents at Sea: American Confrontation and Cooperation with Russia and China, 1945-2016

Scott Mobley earned a PhD in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. A former surface warfare officer, Mobley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. 

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