Causes, conduct, and consequences of war at sea from the Age of Reconnaissance and Conquest through the War of 1812 (including a “virtual staff ride” of the Battle of Trafalgar). Consideration of issues including technology, the impact of the environment, and theories of warfare associated with each period.
There are several objectives to be achieved during the semester. Each student should: • Understand the major historical facts (chronology, geography, peoples and leaders involved) concerning the concerning naval and maritime warfare and conquest from the Age of Exploration to the end of the Napoleonic Wars; • Understand and explain the terminology of ships, sailing, and navies–they are pretty different from everyday English; • Synthesize material from lectures and readings to identify and evaluate the factors, such as leadership, technology, industrial capacity, the human factor (individual skill, morale, etc.), strategy, tactics, environment (demography, geography, etc.), and the military system (logistics, training, etc.) that played a major role in determining the outcome of battles and wars during the Age of Sail; • Become familiar with and be able to analyze important strategic theories (such as those advanced by Carl von Clausewitz, Baron Jomini, Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, and Sir Julian Corbett) and be able to analyze critically the proposition that warfare is susceptible of analysis in the manner articulated by the great philosophers of war (or "strategists); • Improve their ability to compare and contrast historical (Mahan) and contemporary sources (Rodger) to analyze the process of historical development within the European empires during the Age of Sail; • Be better be able to articulate the role of naval forces, particularly those of the Spanish, Dutch, and British, in establishing domination within Europe and in the dissemination of European culture, economy, and political ideology around the world during the Age of Sail; • Improve their critical reading, writing, and analytical skills; • Employ the proper method for employing and citing (specifically including reliance on footnote - bibliography system of the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style) sources in formal historical writing; and • Research, organize, and write historical papers more clearly and effectively.