British Naval Power 1660-1815: Ideology and Conflict (HIH2206A)

StaffDr Roger Morriss - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history.It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of maritime power in western Europe between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key functions of naval power in relation to defense and offense, local and regional control of sea communications, colonial development and imperial conflict
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of the period
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary
  • 6. Interpret primary sources
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument

Syllabus plan

1    Mercantile thinking and war against the Dutch:  seminars on the evolution of 17th century attitudes and the naval developments.

2.     Constitutional change and the wars with France: seminars on political revolution and the military consequences.

3.     Imperial conflict and the growth of experience in colonial warfare: seminars on the lessons taught and learned.

4.     Infrastructure, management and finance: seminars on the logistics, administrative methods and the fiscal military-state.

5.     Exploration and technology: seminars on voyages in the Pacific and the requisite technological knowledge;

6.     Empire and efficiency: seminars on the military management of American Independence and governmental reform.

7.     Navy and Society: seminars on merit and performance, inequality and protest placing the navy in wider society.

8.     Technology and leadership: seminars on the material and human factors in the French Revolutionary War.

9.     Manpower and health: seminars on the problems of manning and maintenance of health at sea.

10.   Economic power and warfare: seminars on the  fiscal-military state and the effectiveness of blockade before 1815. 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar, introduce one, and on one occasion present on a given topic in a group of 3 or 4
Guided Independent Study22Web-based activities located on ELE - preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided Independent Study234Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay x 1303000 words1-12Verbal and written
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-12Written
Group Presentation2025 Minutes1-12Written and verbal

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3000 words)1-12Referral/deferral period
Exam2 questions in 2 hours1-12Referral/deferral period
Group Presentation Script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

N.A.M. Rodger, The Command of the Ocean. A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815(London, 2004).

P. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (London, 1976).

R, Harding, Seapower and Naval Warfare 1650-1830(London, 1999).

R. Morriss, The Foundations of British Maritime Ascendancy. Resources, Logistics and the State, 1755-1815(Cambridge, 2011).

R. Morriss, Naval Power and British Culture, 1760-1850. Public Trust and Government Ideology(Aldershot, 2004).

Navy Records Society volumes as appropriate.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date