ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

maandag 19 april 2021

BOOK: John SHOVLIN, Trading with the Enemy. Britain, France, and the 18th-Century Quest for a Peaceful World Order (New Haven (Conn.): Yale UP 2021), 352 p.


(image source: Yale UP)


Britain and France waged war eight times in the century following the Glorious Revolution, a mutual antagonism long regarded as a “Second Hundred Years’ War.” Yet officials on both sides also initiated ententes, free trade schemes, and colonial bargains intended to avert future conflict. What drove this quest for a more peaceful order? In this highly original account, John Shovlin reveals the extent to which Britain and France sought to divert their rivalry away from war and into commercial competition. The two powers worked to end future conflict over trade in Spanish America, the Caribbean, and India, and imagined forms of empire-building that would be more collaborative than competitive. They negotiated to cut cross-channel tariffs, recognizing that free trade could foster national power while muting enmity. This account shows that eighteenth-century capitalism drove not only repeated wars and overseas imperialism but spurred political leaders to strive for global stability.

On the author:

John Shovlin is associate professor of history at New York University and the author of The Bordeaux–Dublin Letters, 1757 and The Political Economy of Virtue. 

 (source: Yale UP)