The Eighteenth-Century Fiscal-Military State: A Four Nations Perspective
The concept of the ‘fiscal-military state’ has been extraordinarily influential in shaping how we view the eighteenth-century English state. John Brewer’s seminal book The Sinews of Power has spawned a significant literature not just on English state formation but also on the Irish and Scottish (less so the Welsh) states in this period. Integrating this often diverse scholarship together has however proved challenging for historians, with greater connections developed between the historiographies of Ireland and Scotland than between that of England and those of its western and northern neighbours. Drawing especially on Irish evidence, this chapter explores what an integrated four nations history of the fiscal-military state might look like. Focusing particularly on the levying of taxation and the role of the military in civil society it investigates how each component of the composite British state made a distinctive contribution to the processes of state formation in this period.