We would not have needed to keep building bigger, more powerful ships if it were not for an international competition in which many other countries were continually trying to build a navy that could sink the other guy’s navy. At the very least, we needed to protect our coastal borders and shipping lanes. England, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Germany, and Italy could never have become colonial powers without a strong navy. A century earlier, we had become an independent nation and wanted to keep it that way. There was an ongoing debate in the U.S. during the 19th Century as to whether we should engage in colonialism overseas. We had expanded our nation across a continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. For many Americans, that was enough. Still we ended up occupying Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Haiti, and, in a way, Cuba.