The Shaping of Modern Britain

The Shaping of Modern Britain : Identity, Industry and Empire 1780 - 1914

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In this wide-ranging history of modern Britain, Eric Evans surveys every aspect of the period in which Britain was transformed into the world's first industrial power. By the end of the nineteenth century, Britain was still ruled by wealthy landowners, but the world over which they presided had been utterly transformed. It was an era of revolutionary change unparalleled in Britain - yet that change was achieved without political revolution.

Ranging across the developing empire, and dealing with such central institutions as the church, education, health, finance and rural and urban life, The Shaping of Modern Britain provides an unparallelled account of Britain's rise to superpower status. Particular attention is given to the Great Reform Act of 1832, and the implications of the 1867 Reform Act are assessed. The book discusses:

- the growing role of the central state in domestic policy making

- the emergence of the Labour party

- the Great Depression

- the acquisition of a vast territorial empire

Comprehensive, informed and engagingly written, The Shaping of Modern Britain will be an invaluable introduction for students of this key period of British history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 170 x 240 x 36mm | 919.99g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 1408225646
  • 9781408225646
  • 1,450,836

Back cover copy

In 1780, Britain was losing the American War of Independence and at war with both France and Spain, two of the great powers of Europe. Constitutional crisis, perhaps even revolution, seemed imminent. Yet in 1914, Britain entered the First World War confidently, if reluctantly, having established itself as the world's most powerful nation. Why was Britain so successful for so long? Drawing on the experience of more than forty years of historical research and teaching in the field of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British history, Professor Eric Evans addresses this question as part of a fresh, analytical and wide-ranging history of modern Britain. He examines every aspect of the period 1780-1914, in which Britain was transformed into the world's first industrial power, and explains how and why a distinctively modern British state developed as it did. Three key factors made Britain the world's most powerful and influential nation in the nineteenth century: its increasingly clearly articulated sense of an imperial, as well as a national, identity; its status as the world's first, and most advanced, industrial society; and its increasingly representative political structures at both local and national level. Dealing with key issues such as political change, urban and rural society, religion, education and a rapidly developing economy, the book discusses: the growing role of the state, especially in the formulation of social policy; the expansion of political representation and changes in party politics; the golden era of manufacturing industry linked to Britain's role as the world's financial capital;the acquisition of the largest territorial empire in modern history. Comprehensive, informed and engagingly written, "The Shaping of Modern Britain "will be an invaluable guide for students of this key period of British history. Eric J. Evans is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at Lancaster University and the author of a number of seminal books on the political and social history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, including "The Forging of the Modern State "(3rd edn, 2001).
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Table of contents


Section 1: Early Industrial Britain, c1780-1850


Chapter 1: A `Greater Britain' in 1780?

Chapter 2: The Demographic Revolution in Britain and Ireland

Chapter 3: Aristocracy rampant?

Chapter 4: The role and impact of the middle classes in British society

Chapter 5: Industrial Revolution or Industrial Evolution?

Chapter 6: Urban Growth and Regional Diversity

Chapter 7: Agriculture in the Early Industrial Age

Chapter 8: Industrialism and Conflict

Section 2: Britainat war and peace, 1780-1815


Chapter 9: Government in crisis: the impact of the war for America

Chapter 10: A `National Revival' under the Younger Pitt, 1783-93

Chapter 11: Britain in the 1790s: the impact of the French Revolution

Chapter 12: The Younger Pitt & the French Revolutionary Wars, 1793-1801

Chapter 13: The Napoleonic Wars, 1803-15

Chapter 14: John Bull's other Island: Ireland and Union, 1780-1815

Chapter 15: Paying for War: government, politics and religion in early nineteenth-century Britain

Section 3:A new political era, 1815-46


Chapter 16: The Age of Lord Liverpool I: Radicalism, Reform and Repression, 1815-22

Chapter 17: The Age of Lord Liverpool II: Liberal Toryism, 1822-27?

Chapter 18: Congresses and Conflicts: Britain in Europe, 1815-30

Chapter 19: Matters Imperial, c1790-c1850

Chapter 20: The crisis of Toryism and the road to Reform, 1827-32

Chapter 21: The reality of Reform: the new order and its critics

Chapter 22: The Age of Peel? Policies and Parties, 1832-46

Section 4:A Mature Industrial Society, c1850-1914


Chapter 23: A `Second Industrial Revolution'?: British economic performance,


Chapter 24: Social structure and social change in a maturing economy

Chapter 25: Identities, Aspirations and Gender

Chapter 26: Free Trade, Laissez-faire and the changing role the state, c1830-80

Chapter 27: Supremacy under threat? Economy and Society, 1880-1914

Chapter 28: The State, Charity and the Poor, c1830-c1900

Chapter 29: Education, Leisure and Society

Section 5:Party, Policy and Diplomacy: 1846-80


Chapter 30: Party Politics Confounded, 1846-59

Chapter 31: Parliamentary Reform c1850-1880: Intention and Impact

Chapter 32: Gladstone and the Liberal Party, 1860-80

Chapter 33: Disraeli and the Conservative Party, 1860-80

Chapter 34: Diplomacy and War: the Pax Britannica challenged, c1840-65

Chapter 35: Diplomacy and the Eastern Question, c1865-80

Section 6: Empire, Democracy and the Road to War, 1880-1914.


Chapter 36: `This vast Empire on which the Sun never sets': imperial expansion and cultural


Chapter 37: Conservatism in the era of Salisbury

Chapter 38: The Liberal party, 1880-1914: sundered and saved?

Chapter 39: Votes for Women

Chapter 40: The impact of Ireland on British Politics, 1880-1914

Chapter 41: Labour, welfare and social conflict, 1900-14

Chapter 42: A greater need for security: Diplomacy and alliance systems, 1880-1902

Chapter 43: An accidental catastrophe? The origins of the First World War

Chapter 44: Epilogue
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About Eric Evans

Eric J. Evans is Professor Emeritus of History at Lancaster University and author of a number of seminal books on the political and social history of eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain, including The Forging of the Modern State: Early Industrial Britain, 1783-1870 (third edition 2001) and Britain Before the Reform Act (second edition 2008).
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