Remarks at the Banquet of the Sons of the American Revolution in New York City
We rank as one of the great naval powers of the earth, and we rank as a power for peace. The navy is the arm of all others upon which this nation must depend to defend it against all foreign aggressors. I want to increase the number of our battleships because they are preventatives of war with other nations.
It is, to me, a matter of great regret that Congress does not provide means for field maneuvers, and I earnestly hope that the near future will see this defect remedied.
We owe to this nation that we have an army that gives as good service as any in the world, but we cannot achieve this unless we train men in the mass. War came, and you sent men to the front with officers who had never handled men in the mass, officers who had only had command over a few hundred men. Could you expect any thing but disorder?
I speak in the interests of peace when I ask for an efficient army and navy.
This nation will not surrender the Isthmian Canal nor the islands of the sea, and here is an argument for augmented strength.
Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks at the Banquet of the Sons of the American Revolution in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/343743