|President Roosevelt, who believed in grand flourishes, dreamed up such a gesture to impress the world, and especially the Japanese, with American power. He planned to send the entire American battle fleet on a voyage around the world. Critics protested that it would provoke war, or alternately leave the American east coast unprotected.
Roosevelt went ahead, and on December 16, a fleet of 16 American battleships set sail. They were met with a tumultuous response wherever they went -- including Japan. The trip underscored the growing power of the United States.