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England’s “Descent” On France And The Origins Of Blue-Water Strategy

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Chapter Summary

The origins of the blue-water strategy and its contest with the Williamite position did not rest solely upon the descent. From its beginning in 1689 until 1694 most observers would have agreed that for England the war against France had not gone well at all. By 1691 only the war in Ireland showed any sign of coming to a satisfactory conclusion. The foregoing events and attitudes might seem sufficient to account for the emergence of a blue-water strategy. When the author considers the position of the government's critics, however, difficulties with this explanation arise. These difficulties were partly constitutional and partly political. As a popular scheme to hasten the war's end it had provided a rallying point for the government's critics, particularly during its first year's trial, when its apparent mismanagement had disappointed all of its supporters.

Keywords: blue water strategy; England; France; Ireland; war policy; Williamite



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