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The Sinews of Power

The Sinews of Power

War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783

John Brewer

ISBN 9780674809307

Publication date: 10/01/1990

This powerful interpretation of English history provides a completely new framework for understanding how Britain emerged in the eighteenth century as a major international power.

John Brewer’s brilliant analysis makes clear that the drastic increase in Britain's military involvement (and success) in Europe and the expansion of her commercial and imperial interests would not have happened without a concurrent radical increase in taxation, along with a surge in deficit financing and the growth of a substantial public administration. Warfare and taxes reshaped the English economy, and at the heart of these dramatic changes lay an issue that is still very much with us today: the tension between a nation's aspirations to be a major power and fear of the domestic consequences of such an ambition—namely, the loss of liberty.

Praise

  • Brewer poses another question of great importance…how did a small island, of no great population, and which had, for the most part, played an insignificant role in seventeenth-century Europe, transform itself, in the space of sixty years, into a great naval power with an immense empire? Brewer is to be congratulated [on] here identifying a major theme and pursuing it with great skill.

    —John Cannon, Times Literary Supplement

Author

  • John Brewer is Director of the Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies and Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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