The Great Struggle Between France and England During the 18th Century Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1273 Words
Date:  2022-11-20

France and England had been in a constant conflict that created tension and led to a regular state of war between the two countries. France and England engaged in a military war over a period of one hundred years in the 18th Century. Both nations enjoyed a great economic revolution that enabled them a position in the world as superpowers (Bayly, 2016). Each nation pushed to have a national and international identity that would make it become recognized as a colonial empire. The great struggle between France and England in the 18th Century attracted the attention and involved other nations in the world. European countries failed to take part in the 18th Century war period between France and England due to the Anglo-French Alliance that limited their participation. The scramble for power and control for colonies between France and England resulted in aggressive competition for territories in different countries (Crouzet, 2017). The great struggle that resulted in constant wars that took place in the 18th Century between France and England include the King William's War which took place between 1689 and 1697, Queen Anne's War was between 1702 and 1713, King George' War began in 1744 and ended in 1745, the French and Indian War 1754 to 1763 and the Seven Years War that took place between 1756 and 1763.

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The Kingdom of Great Britain was created in the mid-1700s, uniting England and Scotland. This strengthened England in its conquest for power and control of colonies (Lenman, 2014). The government and leadership embraced a parliamentarian approach to strategize and organize wars. On the other hand, France adopted a monarchial style of leadership in the government, which allowed the country to has no restrictions through the use of written and premeditated laws. Between 1702 and 1713, France and England took part in the War of the Spanish Succession (Crouzet, 2017). The British army was organized and used sophisticated weapons which gave Britain a comparative advantage over its enemy. Britain also partnered with other countries like Austria which gave it military support in a bid to strengthen its army. An ally's support gave the warring party a comparative advantage over its enemy as it would get a supply of militants or resources that were used by the armies in the war.

The constant fights between Great Britain and France attracted sympathizers from different parts of the world (Tilly, 1993). Allies supported either of the two, depending on the relationship they had previously shared as well as the potential benefit that a nation would have in the future. For instance, in the late 1770s, France initiated an ally relationship with the United States. The formal alliance between France and America motivated the former to intensify its war and attacks on Great Britain. France signed treaties with other countries that acted as back-up support. For instance, the Treaty of Aranjuez between Spain and France in 1778 allowed the latter to enter the war in the next year as France's ally (Bayly, 2016). Some countries like Russia to publicly state they had no interest in the war between France and Great Britain by declaring their neutrality.

Political leaders in France that spearheaded France and Britain war that took place between 1756 and 1763 had assumed that once Britain's colonies gained independence, the superpower would be neutralized, making it easy to win the constant conflicts (Lenman, 2014; Tilly, 1993). France monitored the activities taking place in North America, one of Britain's colonies in a bid to support the local rebel movements and expand its wealth after controlling the resources of many colonies. On the other hand, Britain reacted by seeking out more allies and accumulating more colonies and succeeded in penetrating and capturing New York City (Baugh & Baugh, 2014). New York City was one of the major and strategic cities in America where most resources were controlled, meaning that once Britain took over the metropolitan, then France had little or no power over the country.

Lack of a strong army and coordination from Britain's war generals led to its untimely defeats, which then increased and raised the probability of the French to intervene and take over North America (Bayly, 2016). France's dedication and motivation to engage and win the war against Britain pushed its military to continue depressing the efforts of Britain's war generals. Despite France's efforts to get rid of Britain's control in most of its colonies, the war generals restructured and strategized on new tactics that would be used against their enemies. For instance, Britain managed to take control of India in the long-term, Canada, and Europe. Spain, one of France's allies that supported it during the formative years of the Seven Years War, was also captured by the British, weakening the French control in the world (Baugh & Baugh, 2014). Britain's control of Spain created an enabling environment for peace treaties to settle the war and conflicts in most parts of the world. This also created a foundation for Britain to penetrate and take over more colonies.

Unbowed by the defeat from the British, France reacted and pushed for the acquisition of the southern part of the Equator in a bid to control some economic wealth flows in the world (Crouzet, 2017). The scramble and partition of the Pacific Ocean area began. Political leaders from England were also interested in the Pacific Ocean wealth but used different routes when approaching the area to avoid more conflicts with France. The content for the East Indies by France and England in the late 1770s and early 1780s exposed the deep hatred between the two warring parties (Bayly, 2016). Each country pushed for control of India due to its possible economic benefit both in the short-term and in the long-term. France managed to take control of East Indies, although had to wage a war and confrontation from England's allies and rebels. In the late 1780s, Paris, one of the strategic and influential cities in France was attacked by members of the public. King Louis escaped the mob but was but recaptured in 1793. A declaration of war against England was made by French revolutionaries. Invasion of colonies previously controlled by England began later that year as a way of pushing for war. The geographical position of England out it at a disadvantage, which forced it to rely on its allies.


In conclusion, the great struggle between France and England in the 18th Century is recognized as one of the longest ongoing conflicts in the world. the two countries fight for control of colonies in the world, and the ability of each nation's leaders to strategize and use superior weapons against each other catapulted the conflict. Each nation wanted to dominate and control a large number of colonies in a bid to build and position itself in the world as a superpower. Training of militants that would actively take part in the century-long war was also important for both France and Great Britain since it would attract the attention of allies' support in the future. The rivalry between France and England attracted the attention of allies that offered both direct and indirect supported to the warring parties, which further intensified the conflict. Peace treaties and agreements were made in an attempt to solve the conflict that lasted for one decade.


Baugh, D., & Baugh, D. A. (2014). The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest. Routledge.

Bayly, C. A. (2016). Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780-1830. Routledge.

Crouzet, F. (2017). England and France in the Eighteenth Century: A Comparative Analysis Two Economic Growths. In The Causes of the Industrial Revolution in England (pp. 139-174). Routledge.

Lenman, B. (2014). England's colonial wars 1550-1688: conflicts, empire and national identity. Routledge.

Tilly, C. (1993). Contentious repertoires in Great Britain, 1758-1834. Social Science History, 17(2), 253-280.

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