Author: Marie Peters
Publisher: Longman Pub Group
Category: Biography & Autobiography
William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (1708-78), was the leading figure in mid-eighteenth-century British politics. He captured the imagination of contemporaries and posterity alike by the spectacular victories over which he presided in the Seven Years War - the series of conflicts (1756-63) that brought Britain to unprecedented imperial power. His career links the political world of the early Hanoverians, dominated by Sir Robert Walpole, with the very different worlds of Lord North and Chatham's brilliant son, William Pitt the Younger, at the time of the American and French Revolutions. This addition to the Profiles series not only reassesses Pitt's career in its full political context, with many fresh and rewarding insights for the specialist, but also provides an introduction to the entire period for students and general readers. Through Pitt, Marie Peters is able to illuminate the other important actors on the political stage, and introduce (in ways designed to encourage further investigation) the characteristics and preoccupations of the world in which they moved. These include the roles of monarch, ministers, parliaments and parties; the issues of foreign and imperial policy; ideology and modes of political argument; and the impact of popular politics. He is not an easy subject for the modern historian or the modern reader. Marie Peters rises to the challenge with a cool, independent-minded and convincing reappraisal of this ambitious, charismatic and tormented man. Based on a comprehensive range of primary sources, her study raises doubts about the real substance of his achievements, while sympathetically acknowledging (and explaining) the heroic stature accorded to him by many, if not all, of his contemporaries.