THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND THE CONTINENTAL SYSTEM
It is often argued that the most powerful dissolvent of the eighteenth-century economic structure was the tremendous social change which accompanied industrialisation. Everywhere states were forced either to industrialise or to lapse into a position of economic weakness and military helplessness. Such an argument would suggest that it was the events of the industrial revolution in Britain which changed the structure of eighteenth-century European society by making industralisation necessary. The industrial revolution, because it had to be accepted, and, because, once accepted, it had an irresistible dynamic of its own, eliminated the many barriers to economic development which eighteenthcentury society presented.