Henry Lloyd and the Military Enlightenment of Eighteenth- Century Europe

by Patrick J. Speelman

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September 2002


Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/General

Intellectual historians generally view the Enlightenment as a pacifist or anti-war movement. Military historians typically consider 18th century military thinkers as backward-looking and inept. Speelman challenges the views of both groups through a consideration of the writings of Henry Lloyd, a soldier and Welsh philosophe who combined enlightened thought and military experience to distill a distinct theory of war. Based on previously unused or underutilized primary materials, this is the first biography of this key enlightenment thinker who advanced the general understanding of war as it existed in his day.

Lloyd wrote a multivolume history of the Seven Years' War from which he derived the Principles of War; a treatise on economics that prefigured the liberal theories of Adam Smith; a rhapsody on the invasion and defense of Great Britain; and finally an anonymous critique of the English constitution that he used to demand political and electoral reform. Overall, he argued for the reform of military institutions and practices through breaking from custom and traditional norms. In his works, Lloyd examined warfare within the larger context of secular philosophy and human society; and, thus, he personified the link between the military society and the Enlightenment that historians often ignore or discount.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dennis ShowalterPrefaceIntroduction: An 18th Century OdysseyGenesis of GeniusThe School of WarToward a Theory of PrinciplesHenry Lloyd's EnlightenmentServant of MarsPhilosopher of WarConclusion: The Death of General LloydAppendix A: Lloyd's Principles of WarAppendix B: Publishing History of Lloyd's WorksSelect BibliographyIndex



Patrick Speelman has rescued from anonymity the eighteenth-century soldier of fortune and military intellectual Henry Lloyd (c.1729-83)....Speelman provides a clear and insightful reading of all of Lloyd's work and places it in context....Specialists will profit from this biography of Lloyd and will agree that it has restored him to his proper place as the father of military sociology and possibly the most important military intellectual of his ear (p.2).—The Journal of Military History

[S]peelman's new and important contribution to our deeper understanding of eighteenth-century military history and theory places Lloyd in a new and proper perspective that permanently changes that view and brings renewed interest to Lloyd's work.—Albion

[P]rof. Speelman has combined an account of Lloyd's often colorful military career with a look at his development as a military thinker and reformer, against the background of the intellectual ferment of his times...A very useful work for anyone interested in the militry life of the eighteenth century.—The NYMAS Newsletter

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