A Well Oiled Machine
Europe’s economy saw a major boost in the eighteenth century, due to a focus on manufacturing of exportable goods. Mercantilism, a theory that encourages a society to export more than import, was promoted by economists. Military weaponry became a major product of this shift in focus. The private companies that supplied the government with these goods benefitted from the steady demand as the government saw improvements in quality and innovation, due to the competitive market.
The European governments, at this time, began to provision most of the military supplies and services; this brought more consistency and better organization. As the British Parliament gained sovereign power in England because of The Glorious Revolution of 16881, the government controlled even more of the military, and the cost to the states increased to sustain it. Surely faced with a government and military growing too large to be supported solely on its fixed tax revenue, Britain devises a new method of raising capital to finance military growth. The eighteenth century saw the beginning of governments borrowing against future tax revenues, a term we now call Sinking Funds. This gave Britain almost unlimited capital to steadily improve and grow th...
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...otected formation. This maneuver was only possible because of the mobility, discipline, and leadership derived from an efficient government and military relationship.
The Weak Link
Well dressed, well armed, and well positioned, European armies in the eighteenth century were more powerful and prepared to defeat the opponent. It wasn’t until the Americans in the late century; backed by the French, did Britain even see a major challenge outside of Europe. Even though they had the ability to fight across seas, they were not quite as effective with smaller armies on foreign soil, in the Americas. When this weakness was exploited it became the catalyst to turn the favor away from mighty Europe.
Morillo, Stephen, Jeremy Black and Paul Lococo. War In World History: Society, Technology, and War from Ancient Times to the Present, Volume 2, McGraw-Hill, 2008
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