Britain As Military Power: Sources (HIH3145)

Lecturer(s)Professor Jeremy Black
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at Level 1 and/or 2.
Co-requisitesHIH3146 Britain as a Military Power, 1775-1815: Context
Duration of ModuleTwo semesters
Total Student Study Time300 hours, including seminars 1.5 hours x 22 weeks

Module aims

This module will aim to provide focus on the sources available for the study of Britain as a military power between 1776 and 1815. It will look at a range of sources, including Parliamentary Debates, newspapers, soldiers' diaries and generals' correspondence.

Intended learning outcomes

Module-specific skills

Ability to evaluate the different and complex types of source available for the study of Britain as a military power in the period, together with ability to analyse very closely those sources which the students focus upon in their seminar presentations and written work. Ability to analyse the complex diversity of the sources studied.

Discipline-specific skills

Ability to analyse closely complex original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex texts. Ability to understand and deploy historical and military terminology in a comprehensible manner. Ability to follow the often complex reasoning of military discourse in the period.

Personal and key skills

Independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment. Ability to present complex arguments orally.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be taught through seminars. The seminars will focus on sources for the history of British military power in the period, allowing students to develop their skills and knowledge more fully. Students will be expected to prepare for seminars by reading and evaluating the respective sources in advance, and will discuss the issues raised therein in the seminar itself. The co-requisite module will also provide close analysis of the main outlines of the subject.


Six pieces of work, comprising: a 2,000-word essay on a particular source or set of sources, to be selected from a list of suitable topics; three 1,000-word critical commentaries on documents, to be selected from the list of documents used for the module; two 500-word answers to short extracts from documents, selected from a number of such extracts provided by the module tutor. These pieces of work will be due at regular intervals over the academic year. Each will be returned with comments before the next is due to be submitted; they may not be revised after return. Students will also make seminar presentations, one of which will count towards the overall assessment for the module.


The six pieces of written work will form a portfolio and count 80% of the overall assessment. Each student will make an individual presentation to the group, which will be tutor-assessed (20%).

Syllabus plan

Detailed study of Parliamentary Debates, newspapers, soldiers' diaries and generals' correspondence as sources for Britain as a military power between 1776 and 1815.

Indicative basic reading list

C. Hibbert (ed.), The Wheatley Diary (Windrush, 1997)
C. Hibbert (ed.), A Soldier of the Seventy-First (Windrush, 1996)
R. Buckley (ed.), The Napoleonic War Journal of Captain Browne (Army Records Society, 1987)
The Times, 1812