The Lion at Dawn
Forging British Strategy in the Age of the French Revolution, 1783–1797
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Examining Pitt’s foreign policy from 1783 to 1797—the years before and during the War of the First Coalition against Revolutionary France—Jarrett considers a question that has long vexed historians: Did Pitt adhere to the “blue water” school, imagining a globe-trotting navy, or did he favor engagement nearer to shore and on the European Continent? And was this approach grounded in precedent, or was it something new? While acknowledging the complexities within this dichotomy, The Lion at Dawn argues that the prime minister consistently subordinated colonial to continental concerns and pursued a new vision rather than merely honoring past glories. Deliberately, not simply in reaction to the French Revolution, Pitt developed and pursued a grand strategy that sought British security through a novel collective European system—one ultimately realized by his successors in 1815.
The Lion at Dawn opens a critical new perspective on the emergence of modern Britain and its empire and on its early effort to create a stable and peaceful international system, an ideal debated to this day.