Search
×

Sign up

Use your Facebook account for quick registration

OR

Create a Shvoong account from scratch

Already a Member? Sign In!
×

Sign In

Sign in using your Facebook account

OR

Not a Member? Sign up!
×

Sign up

Use your Facebook account for quick registration

OR

Sign In

Sign in using your Facebook account

Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>The Sea Power of Britain Summary

The Sea Power of Britain

Book Summary   by:likelyculprit     Original Author: Mary Scot
ª
 
Although the government of Britain was ever changing and the throne was often filled with new faces, the rulers never ceased to be focused on the Royal Navy. Charles I asked for “ship money” so that he could repair the Navy and even Oliver Cromwell, his usurper, and the Commonwealth recognized the importance of enlarging the Navy. William of Orange and his wife Mary had the good judgment to unify the English and Dutch navies to defeat the French, who had amassed quite a large fleet by the late 17th century. Britain had already defeated the Dutch and shown them who was more powerful, so it was a profitable more to become allies so that the other threat to Britain could be destroyed. After defeating the Spanish and the Dutch, a defeat of the French (and Spanish) in the War of Spanish Succession left Britain as the dominant sea power. As long as Britain could keep the other great powers from teaming up, they were superior. Finally, after all of these European wars, Britain ended up with Parliament, a democracy, and a capitalist economy – this political structure allowed for the funds and their appropriate appropriation for a dominant Royal Navy. In the early 18th century, just after the War of Spanish Succession, Britain was still in control of its most lucrative colonies. It held the colonies in North America, the West Indies, and India. It profited from the triangular trade, from taxes on imported/exported goods, and on discounted raw materials. Britain can not necessarily be proved to be the greatest imperial success, but it cannot be proved otherwise. It had control of lumber, fish, furs, tea, spices, rum, molasses, sugar, slaves, tobacco, and many other coveted luxuries. Basically, the imperial success is evidence of the next argument: the Britain had superior employment of maritime resources. Since Britain did not need to sustain as large of a standing army to protect its borders (it’s an island!), it was able to put most of its defense budget into the Navy – something that its adversaries could not afford to do.
Mercantilism is more evidence of superior use of resources – even when there was no war going on, the Navy was used to protect trade in the colonies from non-British sources. This meant that the ships weren’t wasted in peacetime and that the Brits got the most out of their colonies. Privateering was another example; the British had found a way to weaken the enemies’ supplies without spending a shilling. What better way to allocate resources than to not use them while still achieving your goal? In summary, the major defeats of the Dutch, the Spanish, and the French allowed the British to divide and conquer their enemies. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was the first in this progression towards dominance. The First Anglo-Dutch War was great for England, but even greater was the loss of the Third Anglo-Dutch War, because it ended in the marriage of William of Orange and Mary. This allowed for the beginning of the seven wars against France, especially the War of Spanish Succession when Britain beat the French and divided them from the Spanish. One can see after all of these wars that England was dominant: its admirals were able to profit both from the Permanent Fighting Instructions and from the Melee School of thought, it was effective in blockading its enemies in wartime to prevent trade (such as the Dutch and French), and the dominance culminated in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Published: August 31, 2005   
Please Rate this Summary : 1 2 3 4 5
Translate Send Link Print
X

.