War and Empire: The Expansion of Britain, 1790-1830

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The years 1790 to 1830 saw Britain engage in an extensive period of war-waging and empire-building which transformed its position as an imperial state, established its reputation as a distinctive military power and secured naval preeminence.

Despite this apparent success, however, Britain did not become a world super power in the conventional sense. Instead, as Professor Collins demonstrates, it operated as an enclave power, influencing or dominating many regions of the world without ever asserting global hegemony. Even in the 1820s, Britain still had to fight to maintain influence, and sometimes struggled to assert dominance on the borderlands of the empire.

By locating naval and military power at the heart of Britain's relationship with the wider world, Bruce Collins offers an insightful reinterpretation of the interaction between military and naval war-making, the expansion of the empire, and the nature of the British regime. Using examples of conflicts ranging from continental Europe and Ireland to North America, Africa and India, he argues that the state's effectiveness in war was crucial to its imperial expansion and gives new significance to British military conduct in an age of revolution and war.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘This is an admirable survey - comprehensive, clear and readable.’

Brian Holden Reid, Kings College London

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582494220
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/20/2010
  • Series: Modern Wars In Perspective Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 532
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Collins is Professor of Modern History at Sheffield Hallam University.

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Table of Contents

List of maps vii

Acknowledgements viii

Preface x

Part 1 War, empire and British identity 1

1 War and empire: the contested connection 3

2 British militarism 25

Part 2 The war against Republican France 59

3 Containing France in Europe, 1793-95 61

4 The expanded contest, 1793-97 91

5 The Irish rebellion, 1796-98 109

6 Renewing alliances and positioning for peace, 1798-1801 135

Part 3 Military imperialism in India 153

7 India: Military efficiency and Mysore, 1790-92 155

8 Imperial expansionism and Mysore, 1798-99 171

9 Expansionism against the Marathas, 1802-05 193

Part 4 The war against Napoleon 227

10 The quest for objectives, 1803-08 229

11 The Iberian Peninsula commitment, 1808-12 254

12 Victory in Spain and France, 1813-14 280

Part 5 Britain's global reach 317

13 The war of 1812 319

14 The Waterloo campaign: lessons learned? 347

15 Completing British paramountcy in India, 1814-19 364

Part 6 The impact of war 393

16 Instruments of power 395

17 Aristocracy and British military culture 419

18 Interventions overseas, 1820-30 439

19 Britain as a global power, 1815-30 464

Index 491

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