chapter  17
The Relationship between the Revolutionary War and European Military thought and Practice in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century
ByPeter Paret
Pages 16

The politico-military characteristics of the Revolutionary War find no parallel in eighteenth-century Europe. The military institutions of eighteenth-century Europe contained within their native cadres the seed of the nation in arms. The European military was mixed; and so, of course, was that of the United States. The concentrated battle-tactics of Europe lost much of their validity in the territorial expanse and among the political dispersion of the thirteen states. Probably the closest European parallel to the American Revolutionary War was provided by the anti-revolutionary movements in France during 1793 and 1794: the insurrection of Lyon, that of Toulon, and the uprising in the Vendee. The political and military upheavals of the age of the French Revolution and of Napoleon contained nothing like it. The Girondins, the party for the moment dominating the revolutionary government, believed that a war would unite the nation behind their leadership.