For decades, naval historians have pointed out that the 1880s were remarkable for debates about American naval policy. Theories put forth in these debates provided "a thought-reservoir from which Alfred Thayer Mahan, the members of Congress, and others after them drew to develop a blue-water naval strategy that became the United States Navy's basic policy in the 1890s and beyond.
Thiesen, William H.
"Professionalization and American Naval Modernization in the 1880s,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 49
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol49/iss2/5