MAHAN, Alfred Thayer, Amer ican naval officer: b. West Point, N. Y., 27 Sept. 1840; d. 1 Dec. 1914. He was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1859, and served during the Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant-commander in 1865. In 1885 he was promoted captain, and in 1886 was ap pointed president of the Naval War College at Newport, a position which he held till 1888, and again 1892-93. In 1893-95 he was commander of the Chicago, and in 1896 was retired after 41 years' active service at his own request. In 1898 during the war with Spain he was a member of the Naval Board of Strategy; and in 1899 one of the United States delegates to The Hague Peace Conference. In 1906 he was ad vanced to the rank of rear-admiral on the re tired list. In 1890 he published his chief work, 'Influence of Sea Power upon the continuation, 'Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire,' appeared in 1892; his other writings include 'The Gulf and Inland (1883) ; 'Life of Admiral Far ragnt' (1892) ; 'Life of Nelson' (1897), highly commended by English critics; 'The Interest of America in Sea Power) (1897), a compila tion of his magazine articles; 'Lessons of the War with Spain' (1899) ; 'The Problem of Asia) (1900) ; 'The South African War) (1900); 'Types of Naval Officers) (1901); 'Retrospect and (1902) ; in its Relations to the War of 1812) (1905) ; 'Some Neglected Aspects of War) (1907); 'From Sail to Steam' (1907); 'Naval Admin istration and Warfare' (1908) ; 'The Harvest Within) (1909); 'The Interest of America in International Conditions) (1910) ; 'Armaments and Arbitration) (1912) ; 'Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Inde pendence) (1913).
As a historian he made a distinct contribu tion to historical science as the first writer to demonstrate the determining force which mari time strength has exercised upon the fortunes of individual nations, and consequently upon the course of general history. Technically, his representative work, the 'Influence of Sea Power upon History,' is but a naval history of Europe from the restoration of the Stuarts to the end of the American Revolution. But the freedom with which it digresses on general questions of naval policy and strategy, the at tention it pays to the relation of cause and effect between maritime events and international politics, and the author's literary method of treatment, place this work outside the class of strictly professional writings and make it a recognized leading authority. His prime ob ject, in establishing the thesis that maritime strength is a determining factor in the pros perity of nations, was to reinforce his argu ment that the future interests of the United States require a departure from the traditional American policy of neglect of naval-military affairs. Captain Mahan was president of the American Historical Association in 1902-03 i and received honorary degrees from several univer sities, including D.C.L. from Oxford and LL.D. from Cambridge (England), Harvard. Yale, Columbia and McGill universities.