1st Edition

Liberalism and Naval Strategy Ideology, Interest and Sea Power During the Pax Britannica

By Bernard Semmel Copyright 1986

    Liberalism and Naval Strategy (1986) examines the role that liberalism played in shaping the naval strategy of the Pax Britannia. Liberalism was linked to commercial interest, and the devotion of the middle classes to peaceful commerce and their suspicion of force as government policy helped to inform critical choices. The traditional British naval strategy of the mercantilist era persisted into the early nineteenth century when the Royal Navy’s policing of the seas against piracy and the slave trade antagonized trade rivals, particularly America. By the 1850s, Britain granted immunity to neutral shipping – after much debate, with some of the century’s leading thinkers, including Mill and Marx, taking prominent parts in the naval controversies. This book examines these events, as well as the writings of contemporary naval strategists including the Colomb brothers. It also discusses the strategic posture of the Admiralty and its opponents before and during the war against Germany in 1914.

    1. Sea Power, Commerce and Liberalism  2. The Fierce Trident  3. Christianity, Liberalism and the Trident  4. The Maritime Revolution  5. The Cobdenite Conscience: National War and Commercial Peace  6. The Strategists: Naval Duel or Commercial War?  7. Britannia Contra Mundum  8. The Politics of Pacifism, Parsimony and Redistribution  9. Offense and Defence: the Historical and Materiel Schools  10. America and the Freedom of the Seas  11. Radicals, Reactionaries and Power


    Bernard Semmel