These years are conventionally dominated by developments in Western Europe, the French Revolution, which broke out in 1789, and the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars which followed in 1792 and lasted until 1802, although, after Napoleon came to power in France in 1799, these wars are sometimes grouped with the Napoleonic Wars which lasted, with two brief intervals in 1802–3 and 1814–15, until 1815. Linked to this focus, this period is usually discussed in terms of a clear teleology. These developments are considered in this chapter, but the central themes of the chapter are different from the conventional account. Again, the perspective is global, with global, crucially, not only understood, as it so often is, in terms of conflict between Western imperial powers. Moreover, there is an engagement in this chapter with a range of issues that cannot be assessed in terms of the teleology already referred to.
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