The Long Eighteenth Century

In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon’s Wars

February 3, 2015

Even the most eclectic history buff has periods that draw her back time and time again. if you’ve spent much time here at the Margins you know the late eighteenth century is one of those times for me. Regency England and Revolutionary France, colonial expansion in India and losses in North American, Enlightenment thought and […]

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Let Them Eat Cake?

January 16, 2015

Today we’re going to take a little side trip from French Algeria to think about grain*, thanks to Paul Hancq, who responded to my recent attempts to convert the price of an eighteenth century grain purchase into modern American dollars with the comment, “At any rate, that is a LOT of expensive grain!” He’s right. […]

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A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

December 30, 2014

Quick, name two things you know about King George III of England. If you’re an American, I’m pretty sure I know what you said: He held the throne during the American Revolution. If you’re a history buff (and I assume you are), you may have added that on July 4, 1776 he wrote “Nothing of […]

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1814: The Year in Review

December 23, 2014

I wish I could tell you that 1814 was a year of peace compared to 1914–but it wouldn’t be true. In fact, the two years look an awful lot alike–emphasis on the awful. The allied powers of Europe fighting an aggressive empire. A generation of young men damaged by war. Belgian fields trampled into mud […]

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The Black Hole of Calcutta

March 18, 2014

In mid-eighteenth century India, power was up for grabs. The Mughal dynasty was in decay. Smaller regional powers flourished. European trading companies, which held their trading privileges at the discretion of Indian rulers, were constantly looking for a way to get an edge. The British and French East India Companies, in particular, maintained private armies […]

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Introducing Flat Arthur, aka His Grace the Duke of Wellington

March 12, 2014

Several weeks ago, fellow Historical Novel Society member Cora Lee shared an idea that she’d been having fun with for a few months and asked if any of us would like to play along. She took the idea of “Flat Stanley” and gave it a historical twist, creating “Flat Arthur”– a two dimensional version of […]

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The Profligate Son

September 3, 2013

From Jane Austen’s Wickham through Charles Dicken’s array of extravagant cads to the latest Regency romance, the dissipated wastrel who throws away his family fortune, or at least his good name, is a familiar character to anyone who reads novels written (or set) in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century. They drink, […]

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Jane Austen’s England

August 30, 2013

Even if you’ve never read Jane Austen’s novels you probably have a clear image of what life was like for her characters thanks to excellent adaptations for film and television.  Women wore white muslin dresses. Gentlemen wore precisely tied cravats and really tight pants.  Red-coats wore, well, red-coats. People went to dances, visited great houses, […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: William Wilberforce and the Abolition of the British Slave Trade

August 13, 2013

Unlike many other shin-kickers from history, William Wilberforce was a card-carrying member of the privileged classes–wealthy, educated, male, white. Born in 1759 to a wealthy merchant family in the Yorkshire port of Hull, Wilberforce spent his teen years and early adult life in what he later described as “utter idleness and dissipation”. While a student […]

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Pontiac’s War

August 6, 2013

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the French and Indian Wars in North America came to an end. The Treaty of Paris redefined British, French, and Spanish colonial territories. France ceded Canada and the French territories east of the Mississippi to Britain and the Louisiana territory west of the Mississippi to Spain. Spain relinquished Florida […]

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