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The Sinews of Power : War, Money and the English State 1688-1783 - John Brewer

The Sinews of Power

War, Money and the English State 1688-1783

Hardcover

Published: 27th April 1989
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Under the later Stuarts, England became a major European military power, English armies and navies grew to an unprecedented size, civilian administration burgeoned and taxation, public borrowing and spending on war reached new heights. This work examines the causes of the emergence in England of this fiscal-military state and the features which distinguished it from European powers. It also charts the effect of these developments on society at large: their impact on the economy, on social structure and politics and their role in developing special interest groups and lobbies. Thus it provided an interpretative framework which links adminstration with politics, public finance with the economy and foreign policy with domestic affairs.

A lucid, incisive account of 18th-century Britain's development from a minor player on the periphery of the European theater to an imperial power through the evolution of the modern "fiscal-military" state. Brewer (Director, Clark Library and the Center for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Studies/ UCLA) examines the transformation through a focus on the bureaucracy that evolved to assess, collect, and channel tax monies. Three major factors are considered formative: the lack of an entrenched venal officier class, as in France; the absence of a large standing army independent of civil authority and the consequent emphasis on the navy; and the Common's check on the Crown's behavior through the power of the purse. Looking at methods of taxation used to finance the growth of war and Empire, Brewer points to the changeover from direct - i.e., land - tax to indirect excise taxes; a system of well-trained and efficient clerks and tax collectors, as opposed to tax fanning and factional sinecures; and the tendency of the population to accept taxation due to Parliament's participation in the process. The apparatus of the fiscal-military state created an environment that nurtured the growth of a private financial community and thus the tools of a modern economy and the development of deficit financing. A final chapter dealing with "the politics of information" considers the public's view of itself as part of the larger national economy due to the vogue for "political arithmetic" and the dissemination of "useful knowledge": statistics gathered and processed by the Bartlebys of the 18th century. Though aimed at the nonspecialist (much information will be familiar to students of the period's economic and military history), considerable background is required. Still, this is fluid, readable, and informative, and will reward anyone with an interest in the evolution of the modern state. (Kirkus Reviews)

Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Before the Revolution: The English State in the Medieval and Early Modern Erap. 1
Contextsp. 3
The Contours of the Fiscal-Military Statep. 25
Introductionp. 27
The Armed Forces: Patterns of Military Effortp. 29
Civil Administration: The Central Offices of Governmentp. 64
Money, Money, Money: The Growth in Debts and Taxesp. 88
Political Crisis: The Emergence of the Fiscal-Military Statep. 135
The Paradoxes of State Powerp. 137
The State, War and Economyp. 163
Introductionp. 165
The Parameters of War: Policy and Economyp. 167
War and Taxes: Society, Economy and Opinionp. 191
The State and Civil Society: The Clash over Information and Interestp. 219
Public Knowledge and Private Interest: The State, Lobbies and the Politics of Informationp. 221
Conclusionp. 250
Notesp. 252
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780044452928
ISBN-10: 0044452926
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 311
Published: 27th April 1989
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.61
Edition Number: 1