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This volume surveys the political, military and diplomatic history of a period of changing alliances and limited and gentlemanly but frequent wars. It gives particular weight to the emergence of Prussia and Russia as European Powers and to the rivalry of France and England in America, in India and on the high seas. The economic background to these national fortunes is of increasing international trade, technological progress and colonialisation. Socially, European society slowly evolved from the domination of the aristocracy to that of urban populations and bourgeois administrators. Intellectually, the culture of Europe took on what are recognized as specifically eighteenth-century forms and ideals. From the point of view of world history this period saw the confirmation of European pre-eminence and dominion.
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