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War and the state

This seminar will analyse the domestic political implications of Britain's engagement in warfare in the long eighteenth century (Nine Years War; War of Spanish Succession; War of the Quadruple Alliance; War of Jenkin's Ear; War of Austrian Succession; Seven Years War; War of American Independence; French Revolutionary Wars; Napoleonic Wars). In particular the focus will be on the development of the 'fiscal-military' state; the importance of war in forming national identities; the effects of war on the civilian population (growth of patriotism versus opposition to troops; press system; taxation; 'big' state)

Key texts

  • Stephen Conway, 'War and national identity in the mid eighteenth-century British Isles', English Historical Review, 116 (2001)
  • Philip Harling and Peter Mandler, 'From fiscal-military state to laissez-faire state, 1760-1850', Journal of British Studies, 32 (1993)
  • Linda Colley, Britons
  • Lawrence Stone (ed.), An Imperial State at War
  • H. V. Bowen, War and British Society
  • John Brewer, The sinews of Power: War, Money and the British State, 1688-1783

Key sources

B. R. Mitchell and Phyllis Deane, Abstract of British Historical Statistics [for economic impact of wars]

British Museum Prints and Drawings [satirical views on wars]

Sample Militia List:

See also Lois Schwoerer, 'The Grenville Militia List for Buckinghamshire, 1798-9', Huntington Library Quarterly, 68 (2005) and W. G. Hoskins (ed.), Exeter Militia List, 1803


Satire on war, 1795