Peace and War in the Eighteenth Century: page 274-296
Section 33: Western Europe after the Peace of Utrecht
Peace of Utrecht
continued through balance of power.
Spain’s empire was partitioned; it kept America but lost
European holdings to Austrians, Duke of Savoy, and British.
Britain emerged as the United Kingdom, with power
in the Mediterranean, Canada, and trading rights in Spanish America (asiento). Spain tried to tighten up its imperial
administration, causing friction that led to revolution.
France and Britain after 1713
Kings lost power in both, with a rise in the propertied; both experienced commercial expansion and the wide-
spread speculation; both had leading statesmen seeking peace.
Louis XV was 5 in 1715, and nobles took advantage of a weak regent.
Parliaments asserted their right to
assent to taxes and laws by not enforcing laws they opposed.
Thus organized privilege groups, aristocrats, checking
the growth of absolutism.
Parliament conducted public business, with the House of Lords and the House of Commons, made up of
the wealthy and mainly representing money interests.
Parliament was corrupt, slow, expensive--but effective.
Queen Anne died in 1714 and was replaced by
George I of Hanover
; his weakness made Parliament stronger, and
became the first “Prime” Minister.
The Whigs, representing the great landed, London wealth, and
lesser business, were a minority in Commons but dominated Lords.
They opposed the Treaty of Utrecht until the
King threatened to create enough Peers to secure passage; the method produced the primacy of the House of
At this time the odd counter-revolutionary Jacobites emerged, scheming for return of the Stuarts.
Civil War was
dodged in 1715, but in 1745 “Bonnie Prince Charlie” landed in Scotland.
The Jacobites were crushed, and England
moved to weaken the powerful Scots Highlanders.
The War of the Spanish Succession produced large-scale national debt--a new phenomenon.
got money by chartering companies, giving them monopolies, and then receiving a large cash reserve as a loan--used
to fund the war. Sizable amounts of debts were held by the Bank of England (1694), the East India Company
(reorganized in 1708) and the South Sea Company, formed in 1711 to exploit the Asiento.