America or Europe? British Foreign Policy, 1739-63

America or Europe? British Foreign Policy, 1739-63

America or Europe? British Foreign Policy, 1739-63

America or Europe? British Foreign Policy, 1739-63

Synopsis

Why did Britain's position dramatically improve between 1739 and 1763? In this fascinating study, the author examines a pivotal period in Britain's rise to great power status that culminated in the defeat of France in the struggle for North America in the Seven Years's War. The central themes in this book are the choices between war and peace, and America or Europe. Due weight is given to the period of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-8), when British policy was far from successful and when the major theme was concern with European developments, and to the years of inter-War diplomacy, when the agenda was once again dominated by European developments, specifically the at tempt to create a continental system of collective security to offset the Franco-Prussian alliance. By focusing on the diplomacy of the period rather than, as with the majority of works, emphasizing the dominance of a struggle with France for colonial and maritime superiority, new light is thrown on British foreign policyin this period.

Excerpt

I began working on a sequel to my British Foreign Policy in the Age of Walpole (Edinburgh, 1985) soon after it was published. The book has been longdelayed, however, because of the complexity of the period, the range of sources I had to consult, and my own interest in other projects. I am most grateful to Steven Gerrard for his patience. The passage of time has made the book more topical. This reflects both greater historical interest in the development of Britain’s imperial power and also modern awareness of the importance, complexity and contentious nature of foreign policy and international relations. I am most grateful to the British Academy and the University of Durham for their support of the research on which much of this book is based, to Merton College, Oxford, for electing me to a visiting fellowship in 1986, enabling me to read relevant pamphlet material in the Bodleian Library, to the Huntington Library for appointing me to a visiting fellowship in 1988, which permitted me to work in relevant collections, including Grenville, Loudoun and Montagu papers, and to the Beinecke Library for giving me a visiting fellowship in 1991, which enabled me to work on the Weston papers at Farmington. I am most grateful to Her Majesty the Queen for permission to work on the Cumberland and Stuart papers in the Royal Archives, to the late Duke of Northumberland for permission to work on the Alnwick papers, the Marquess of Bute for permission to work on the papers of the 3rd Earl, to the late Earl Waldegrave for permission to work on the papers of the 1st Earl, to the Earl of Malmesbury for permission to work on the papers of James Harris, to Lady Lucas for permission to work on the Lucas papers in Bedfordshire Record Office, to John Weston-Underwood for permission to work on the papers of Edward Weston, to the Trustees of the Bedford Estate for permission to work on the papers of the 4th Duke, and to Robert Smith for granting me early access to the Bowood and Wolterton collections after their deposit in the British Library. I am very grateful to two anonymous readers for their reports and to Wendy Duery for

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