An extreme example of showing the flag in a convoy of fourteen battleships and ancillary vessels with 14,000 enlisted men travelling through the Magellan Straits and the Suez Canal. President Roosevelt welcomed the fleet back to the US at Norfolk in 1909, claiming it as his greatest act in support of peace, though it could have helped start an arms race. It also showed a marked goal of white supremacy, seen in some comments below, shared by Roosevelt and much of the command of the great white fleet. The book is an easy read, but does a good job of balancing the basic jingoism of the voyage with the nautical and diplomatic problems encountered around the world.
p. 21: There was plenty to do in the way of recreation, too. Among the tons of equipment brought aboard at Hampton Roads were 24 grand pianos, 60 phonographs, 300 sets of chess, 200 packs of playing cards, and equipment for handball, quoits, and billiards. For mere self-indulgence, 200,000 cigars were provided, 400,000 cigarettes [cartons?], and 15,000 pounds of candy. Each ship had its library, its collapsible stage for amateur theatricals, sheet music for group singing, nickelodeon peep shows (censored before leaving) in the lounges, ice cream and soft drinks at the ship’s canteen. No liquor or “grog” had been served in the navy since the Civil War, though officers were permitted beer and wine.
p. 93-94, sounds entirely contemporary in this Trumpian age.” At Auckland the officers and sailors of the fleet were confronted with a new interpretation of their mission. They had come to the South Pacific, they were told, as the predestined saviors of Australasia for the white man and the white man only. Between the islands of New Zealand and Australia, and the emigrating hordes of Japanese, the Battle of the United States presented a potential barrier. … “They were also the background for a demonstration against Oriental immigration in the white man’s lands.”
p. 102: The current demonstrations toward Americans were partly aimed, in Melbourne as at Sydney, at impressing the mother country that all of Australasia lived in terror of the Yellow Peril [this after a successful and friendly fleet visit to Japan and a more troubled one to China]. Carter continues: Among certain elements these sentiments reached extremes, expressing the thought: Take heed, England! If you fail to recognize our fears, our aspirations for a navy to patrol our shores, we may well turn to the United States, closer to us in both geography and feeling. Some even spoke of secession from the Empire and alliance with America. In subtle ways this thinking was expressed in the words of the song “Big Brother”—played unceasingly in Melbourne as at Sydney—the chorus of which went:
We’ve got a big brother in America,
Uncle Sam! Uncle Sam
The same old blood, the same old speech,
The same old songs are good for each;
We’ll all stand together, boys,
If the foe wants a flutter, or a fuss;
And we’re hanging out the sign,
From the Leeuwin to the Lione:
This bit o’ the world belongs to us!
p. 107, as to the Philippines, deemed by President McKinley unready for independence: There was nothing for conscientious Americans to do but rule them with a strong hand, following the widely touted words of Rudyard Kipling:
Take up the White Man’s burden,
Send forth the best ye breed….
[Thanks to a cholera epidemic there was no fleet visit to Manila.]