War and Empire : The Expansion of Britain, 1790-1830 book cover
1st Edition

War and Empire
The Expansion of Britain, 1790-1830

ISBN 9780582494220
Published May 6, 2010 by Routledge
532 Pages

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Book Description

The years 1790 to 1830 saw Britain engage in an extensive period of war-waging and empire-building which transformed its position as an imperial state, established its reputation as a distinctive military power and secured naval preeminence.

Despite this apparent success, Britain did not become a world super power in the conventional sense. Instead, as Professor Collins demonstrates, it operated as an enclave power, influencing or dominating many regions of the world without ever asserting global hegemony. Even in the 1820s, Britain still had to fight to maintain influence, and sometimes struggled to assert dominance on the borderlands of the empire.

By locating naval and military power at the heart of Britain's relationship with the wider world, Bruce Collins offers an insightful reinterpretation of the interaction between military and naval war-making, the expansion of the empire, and the nature of the British regime.  Using examples of conflicts ranging from continental Europe and Ireland to North America, Africa and India, he argues that the state’s effectiveness in war was crucial to its imperial expansion and gives new significance to British military conduct in an age of revolution and war.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements




Part One: War, empire and British identity


Chapter 1: War and empire: the contested connection     

Chapter 2: Britain's militarism  



Part Two: The War against Republican France


Chapter 3: Containing France in Europe, 1793-95    Chapter 4: The expanded contest, 1793-97

Chapter 5: The Irish rebellion, 1796-98    Chapter 6: Renewing alliances and positioning for peace, 1798-1801   



Part 3: Military imperialism in India


Chapter 7: IndiaMilitary efficiency and Mysore, 1790-92   Chapter 8: Imperial expansionism and Mysore, 1798-99

Chapter 9: Expansionism against the Marathas, 1803-05  



Part 4: The War against Napoleon


Chapter 10: The quest for objectives, 1803-08     

Chapter 11: The Iberian Peninsular commitment, 1808-13  

Chapter 12: Victory in Spain and France, 1813-14   



Part 5: Britain's global reach


Chapter 13: The war of 1812   

Chapter 14: The Waterloo campaign: lessons learned?

Chapter 15: Completing British paramountcy in India, 1814-19



Part 6 The impact of war


Chapter 16: Instruments of power

Chapter 17: Aristocracy and British military culture

Chapter 18: Interventions overseas, 1820-1830   

Chapter 19: Britain as a global power, 1815-30   




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Bruce Collins is Professor of Modern History at Sheffield Hallam University.


‘This is an admirable survey - comprehensive, clear and readable.’

Brian Holden Reid, Kings College London