This authoritative "Companion to eighteenth-century Britain" includes essays by nearly forty experts from the UK, Europe, the United States and Canada. It introduces students, teachers and general readers to the developments that led to Britain becoming a great world power, the leading European imperial state, and, at the same time, the most economically and socially advanced, politically liberal and religiously tolerant nation in Europe. The volume examines political developments including the founding of the constitution and political system in 1688 and the development of the party political system. It describes economic and social developments in the towns and country which signalled the advent of 'modern' society and the cultural advances in the arts, philosophy and the press which greatly interested other European nations.The book also reminds readers that religion remained a powerful force and preoccupation throughout this period and covers the discussions over religious tolerance. There is also a section on the creation of the United Kingdom from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and the serious divisions that still remained.
Finally, the book reveals how Britain became a world power, developing and then losing one empire in America but soon acquiring another in India. This Companion is based on recent research and clearly presents the current state of knowledge and interpretation, demonstrating why this period has recently attracted new scholarly initiatives and historical enquiries. This superb work by leading historian of the period provides a series of introductions to the most important themes for study."The authors bring the most up to date scholarship to bear in their work. Readable, sensible, perceptive and intelligent. If there is one book to use for this century, this is it" -"Archives Book Reviews".