In Britain since 1789, Martin Pugh offers a stimulating introduction to the fundamental social, political and economic changes that took place in Great Britain from the late eighteenth century to the present day. In his study of this complex and fascinating period, he explores the major factors governing and determining events and asks: How and why did Britain reach her peak as a great industrial power by 1850? What has been the nature and extent of economic decline since the late-Victorian period? How, as violent, revolutionary change swept across Europe, did the aristocratic British political system give way to mass democracy with scarcely a protest? How did Britain manage to acquire a huge empire in the nineteenth century while investing so little in her armed forces? Drawing on the latest historical research, Pugh presents an accessible, concise and yet wide-ranging analysis of the factors that have shaped contemporary Britain. His study culminates in an evaluation of Britain's dilemmas at the end of this century - following the collapse of consensus politics, the rejection of Thatcherism, the emergence of New Labour and the reappraisal of Britain's relationship with Europe.