Abstract and Keywords
Britain valued its American colonies primarily because of their contribution to the nation's security, power, and influence in Europe. A recurring British fear was that France, Britain's inevitable enemy during the period, might invade the British Isles. Many argued that Britain must be actively engaged in Europe, and that it was a fundamental British interest to prevent the French from dominating the continent. There is a general consensus on the main trends in British foreign relations during the American Revolution. During the Seven Years' War, Britain was able to effectively distribute resources between European and global theaters of war. Throughout the 1760s and 1770s, however, it became increasingly isolated in Europe, and thus had no European ally when it tried to crush the American rebellion. The specter of a global war led the British governing elite to confront what they perceived to be their problem with the United States: owing to the weak governance of Britain's dependencies, the colonies were not capable of defending themselves or of making an adequate contribution to British efforts to defend them.
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