1st Edition

The Birth of a Great Power System, 1740-1815

ISBN 9780582217171
Published August 3, 2005 by Routledge
456 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

The Birth of a Great Power System, 1740-1815 examines a key development in modern European history: the origins and emergence of a competitive state system.

H.M. Scott demonstrates how the well-known and dramatic events of these decades - the emergence of Russia and Prussia; the three partitions of Poland; the continuing retreat of the Ottoman Empire; the unprecedented territorial expansion of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, halted by the final defeat of Napoleon - were part of a wider process that created the modern great power system, dominated by Europe's five leading states.

Enhanced by maps and a chronology of principal events, this comprehensive and accessible textbook is fully up-to-date in its coverage of recent scholarship. Unlike many other treatments of this period, Scott extends his beyond the French Revolution of 1789 in order to demonstrate how events both before and after this great upheaval merged to produce the central political development in modern European history.

This book addresses the crucial phase in the emergence of the modern international system which, with the subsequent addition of the USA, Japan and Russia, has prevailed until the present day.

Table of Contents


Dates, Distances and Place Names

List of Maps

Introduction: Europe's Emerging Great Power System

1. The European States in 1740

2. The War of Austrian Succession, 1740-1748

3. The Diplomatic Revolution and the Origins of the Seven Years War, 1748-1756

4. The Seven Years War 1756-1763

5. The Eighteenth Century International System

6. The Transformation of the European System, 1763-1775

7. Russian Dominance in Eastern Europe, 1775-1795

8. The Anglo-Bourbon Struggle Overseas and in Europe, 1763-1788

9. Europe and the French Revolution, 1789-1797

10. France's Expansion in Europe 1797-1807

11. Napoleonic Europe 1807-1815

Conclusion: The Eighteenth Century origins of the Nineteenth Century Great Power System

Chronology of Principal Events

Bibliographical Essay


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H.M. Scott is Professor of International History at the University of St Andrews. He is a leading authority on eighteenth century international relations. His previous books include The Emergence of the Eastern Powers 1756-1775 (2001).


"Scott's serene command of an enormous array of facts and remarkable skill at integrating them into a smooth, readable, and convincing narrative and analysis make the work indispensable for mature scholars and students alike."

Paul W. Schroeder, Professor of History and Political Science (emeritus), University of Illinois

"This happy marriage of lucid narrative and penetrating analysis has created a modern classic."

Tim Blanning, Professor of Modern European History, University of Cambridge

"...a clear and interesting contribution not only to work on the history of European international relations but also to the theory that this subject is best approached in terms of a system..."This is a useful book that, within its particular parameters, is the best available."

Jeremy Black, The Times Higher, February 24 2006