A revealing new examination of Palmerstonian diplomacy during the pivotal decade of the 1860s, the evolution of the modern capital ship and the real nature of 'empire', 'technology' and 'seapower'. In contrast to the standard image of the mid-Victorian Royal navy as all-powerful, Howard Fuller shows how it suffered serious challenges in this period. Global naval supremacy was no longer 'unassailable' or certain. He skilfully demonstrates how what was good naval practice during the Trent Affair was no longer good in the American Civil War once the Unionist side introduced the 'monitor' form of Ironclad, which deliberately forfeited longer-range power-projection for local, coastal 'command of the sea'. Technology had pitted tactically based, national powers of defence against strategically based imperial ones -- and had intertwined with modern civilian-military debates. How the Royal Navy addressed this issue, successfully or not, and how such decision-making at Whitehall affected that at Westminster is explored using a wealth of international primary and secondary sources.
This book will be of great interest to all students of the Royal Navy, and of maritime and strategic studies in general.
History and Governance Research Institute, University of Wolverhampton, UK