History of the British Army, 1714–1783

An Institutional History

Stephen Conway

Date Published :
May 2021
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Series :
History Of The British Army
Illustration :
16 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526711403
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Much has been written about the British army’s campaigns during the many wars it fought in the eighteenth century, but for over 150 years no one has attempted to produce a history of the army as an institution during this period. That is why Stephen Conway’s perceptive and detailed study is so timely and important. Taking into account the latest scholarship, he considers the army’s legal status, political control and administration, its system of recruitment, the relationships between officers and men, and the social and economic as well as constitutional interactions of the army with British and other societies.

Throughout the book a key theme is order and control. How did a small number of officers exercise authority over large numbers of common soldiers? Traditionally the answer has focused on the role of a draconian system of corporal and capital punishment – by extensive use of the lash and the rope. Yet no institution can function through fear alone and he shows that the obedience of its common soldiers had to be negotiated by their officers who were very aware of their men’s sense of their entitlements, and their conception of military service as contractual.

By uncovering the mental world of both officers and common soldiers, Stephen Conway offers a very different view of how the British army operated between the Hanoverian succession and the end of the War of American Independence. His work will be fascinating reading for all students of British military history.

About The Author

Professor Stephen Conway is based in the history department at University College London. His research has focused on eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland, and in particular on their place in the wider world. His publications include The British Isles and the War of American Independence; War, State and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland; Britain, Ireland, and Continental Europe in the Eighteenth Century: Similarities, Connections, Identities and Britannia's Auxiliaries: Continental Europeans and the British Empire, 1740-1800.


"Overall, this book is an enormous accomplishment. Conway’s focus on the army as an institution offers valuable insights into the norms and ethos structuring the organization’s daily operations. Professional historians, students, and general readers interested in military history will find something profitable in these pages."

- Journal of Military History

“This is an essential read for anyone studying the Revolutionary War and for anyone with an interest in Eighteenth century military practice.”

- The NYMAS Review

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