Drawing on a diverse array of archival and secondary sources, this analysis examines the role of Thomas Pelham Holles, First Duke of Newcastle, against the background of the famous Reversal of Alliances that ushered in the Seven Years War. Contrary to historical tradition, Newcastle showed an admirable grasp of finance, politics, and diplomacy—a precondition of the political stability that facilitated Britain’s successful pursuit of military operations during the war. Unlike most noble contemporaries, with a sound understanding of European/colonial developments, Newcastle was capable of pursuing coherent policies with intelligence and resolution. In a political system that relied heavily on social connexions and diplomatic ritual, Newcastle performed as well as any minister could hope; in an extremely dynamic international environment, contending with dubious allies, implacable enemies, and the vicissitudes of military fortune, he conceived, negotiated, and executed policies that raised necessary funds and sent British forces around the globe on an unprecedented scale. This should be remembered when assessing his historical reputation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations