Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan
Alfred Thayer Mahan.jpeg
Born(1840-09-27)September 27, 1840
West Point, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 1, 1914(1914-12-01) (aged 74)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1859–1896
RankU.S. Navy captain rank insignia (1864-1866).png Captain
USN Rear Admiral rank insignia.jpg Rear admiral (post retirement)
Commands heldUSS Chicago
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War
SignatureSignature of Alfred Thayer Mahan.jpg

Alfred Thayer Mahan (n/; September 27, 1840 – December 1, 1914) was a United States naval officer and historian, whom John Keegan called "the most important American strategist of the nineteenth century."[1] His book The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783 (1890) won immediate recognition, especially in Europe, and with its successor, The Influence of Sea Power Upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812 (1892), made him world-famous and perhaps the most influential American author of the nineteenth century.[2]

Early life

Mahan was born on September 27, 1840, at West Point, New York, to Dennis Hart Mahan (a professor at the United States Military Academy) and Mary Helena Okill Mahan (1815–1893), daughter of John Okill and Mary Jay (daughter of Sir James Jay). Mahan's middle name honors "the father of West Point", Sylvanus Thayer. Mahan attended Saint James School, an Episcopal college preparatory academy in western Maryland. He then studied at Columbia for two years, where he was a member of the Philolexian Society debating club. Against the better judgment of his father, Mahan then entered the Naval Academy, where he graduated second in his class in 1859.[3]

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