Britain As Military Power Context (HIH3146)

Lecturer(s)Professor Jeremy Black
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at Level 1 and/or 2.
Co-requisitesHIH3145 Britain as a Military Power, 1775-1815: Sources
Duration of ModuleTwo semesters
Total Student Study Time300 hours, including seminars 1.5 hours x 22 weeks

Module aims

To throw light on British military history in the period 1776-1815 both in itself and in the light of general developments in military history. The module will assess issues of military exceptionalism, as well as relative capability, and the value of the paradigmatic approach to military history.

Intended learning outcomes

Module-specific skills

Ability to evaluate the different complex themes in British military history, 1776-1815. Ability to make close specialist evaluation of the key developments within the subject and place them within a wider conceptual framework, developed through independent study and seminar work.

Discipline-specific skills

Ability to analyse the key developments within a particular historical environment. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex issues. Ability to understand and deploy historical terminology in a comprehensible manner. Ability to follow the complex reasoning inherent in academic discourse.

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

Seminars will form the basis of the teaching on this module. The seminars will focus on the central issues relating to the subject, allowing students to develop their skills and knowledge more fully. Students will be expected to prepare for seminars by reading and evaluating historian's writings in advance, and will discuss the issues raised therein in the seminar itself. The co-requisite module will also provide close focus on the historical sources available for detailed analysis of the period's politics, so complementing this module.


Two essays of 2,500-3,000 words each. Neither essay may be revised after return. The piece of work gaining the higher mark will count as 33.33% of the overall assessment for the module, provided that both pieces of work are submitted on time; otherwise penalties will apply.


The better of the two essay marks will count as 33.33% of the overall assessment. A two-hour unseen examination in May/June, in which two questions will be answered will form 66.67% of the overall assessment.

Syllabus plan

British military history 1776-1815; British military history in the light of general developments in military history; military exceptionalism; relative capability; the value of the paradigmatic approach to military history.

Indicative basic reading list

J. Black, Britain as a Military Power 1775-1815 (UCL Press, 1999)
J. Black, European Warfare 1660-1815 (Yale, 1994)
J. Black, Western Warfare 1775-1882 (Acumen, 2001)