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  • Introduction: Naval Leadership in the Age of Reform and Revolution, 1700–1850

    Richard Harding, Agustín Guimerá

    Chapter from the book: Guimerá A. & Harding R. 2017. Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World: The Age of Reform and Revolution, 1700–1850.


    Discussing the importance of leadership for modern navies and historians, this introduction explains the origins of the book in a conference at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, bringing together contributors from France, Spain and the UK. Themes highlighted include the insights generated about a period of long-term high-intensity global conflict between 1700-1850 and the key importance of naval staff ‘s integration into the political contexts of their host societies and political elites. The performance of naval leaders was assessed by contemporaries and became integrated into historical narrative of nations notwithstanding very different approaches to command in relation to subordinates, political masters and in the face of the enemy. Collectively this introduction explains key themes across the book: navies as agents of technological and organisational change; the defining event of the French Revolution and comparisons and contrasts between the performance of different commanders. Such issues remain relevant in the 21st century. This introduction also notes the debt the field owes to the late Professor Colin White’s studies of Nelson and his period.

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    Harding R. & Guimerá A. 2017. Introduction: Naval Leadership in the Age of Reform and Revolution, 1700–1850. In: Guimerá A. & Harding R (eds.), Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book2.a

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on March 30, 2017