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The Royal Navy and economic warfare in North America, 1812-1815

The Royal Navy and economic warfare in North America, 1812-1815

Arthur, Brian (2009) The Royal Navy and economic warfare in North America, 1812-1815. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

This study examines the evolution of offensive and defensive maritime economic warfare and the Royal Navy’s use of commercial and naval blockades and mercantile convoys during successive wars, particularly its successful use by Britain in the Anglo-American war of 1812-15. Its legality, tactical and strategic development and contemporary government policy, including impressments are studied. Comparison is made of the nature and development of the British and American economies, their vulnerability to economic warfare and the expediency of its use by Britain against the United States discussed. Legal and practical constraints upon British convoys and blockades are studied and practical solutions reviewed. Economic aspects of the causes, conduct and effects of the war are surveyed, including the impact of Britain’s commercial blockade on American commercial, fiscal, financial, economic and political infrastructures, and therefore the United States’ ability and preparedness to continue fighting. The effectiveness of the naval blockade supplementing Britain’s commercial blockade of the United States is also assessed.

The long-standing problem of the relative effects of British commercial blockade, and the at times contemporaneous American legislative ‘restricting system’ is resolved by comparison of current New England commodity prices at specific times. Prices before the repeal of Madison’s second Embargo are compared with subsequent prices, and with those after the British blockades are later extended to neutral trade with New England.

The effectiveness of British economic warfare on the American economy under two successive commanders is evaluated. An objective assessment of the strategy’s eventual impact on the war’s outcome and later policies is made, and of how far each belligerent’s war aims were met by the negotiated peace. The effectiveness of Britain’s use of economic warfare against the United States has long been seriously under-estimated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.530903
Uncontrolled Keywords: Royal Navy, economic warfare, nineteenth century, naval blockades, mercantile convoys, Britain, United States,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
V Naval Science > V Naval Science (General)
Pre-2014 Departments: Greenwich Maritime Institute
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2017 09:32
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/5708

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