The French Revolution
We open our campaigns with armies that are neither adequately recruited nor properly paid. Whether they win or lose, both sides are equally exhausted....Peace is made. A few colonies or provinces change hands. Often the cause of the conflict remains unresolved and each party remains sitting among its ruins and busies itself with paying off its debts and sharpening its weapon.
But suppose that there should arise in Europe a people vigorous in its genius, its resources and its government; a people in whom austere virtues and a national militia were joined to a settled policy of aggrandizement; one which did not lose sight of its purpose, which knew how to make war cheaply and to subsist on its victories, and was not reduced to laying down its arms through financial need. We would see such a people subjugate its neighbors and overthrow their feeble constitutions as the north wind shakes the tender reeds.
Jacques de Guibert, quoted in Michael Howard, War in European History ( Oxford, 1976), p. 74. Guibert wrote this attack on contemporary European warfare in 1772.
While the French thirsted for revenge for their defeat in the Seven Years War, the British were faced with repaying the enormous debt they had incurred for the war. The British government was eager to raise money from those who benefited the most from its victory, the American colonists. Various taxes and tariffs were set for the colonies soon after 1763. The new rates were modest compared to those in Britain itself, but the colonists deeply resented the new taxes. They ignored the new security from French attacks that the British war effort had brought them. In fact, it was precisely that new security that explains the eventual outbreak of the American Revolution, for the colonists were now free to express their resentment over the new taxes. Had the French stayed in Canada, there would have been no revolution, since the colonists would have never thought to defy British authority.