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The Liverpool Economy during the War of American Independence, 1775–83

Hill, SJ (2016) The Liverpool Economy during the War of American Independence, 1775–83. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. ISSN 1743-9329

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Much has been written about how the American War of Independence (1775-1783) affected the British Isles. However, within this body of work there is limited reference to Liverpool – a British port-town that was arguably becoming ‘the second city of empire’. This article attempts to fill this gap in the historiography by analysing the economic impact of the war upon this town. It shows that there were four overall stages to Liverpool’s foreign commerce during this conflict – initially trade remained broadly steady, then there was a noticeable decline, the penultimate stage marked a sluggish improvement, and finally it was not until the post-war years that a stronger economic recovery took place. That said, despite these overall trends, individual markets, such as the trans-Atlantic slave trade, often had their own dynamics. Equally, although privateers (private ships of war) contributed towards the town’s eventual commercial recovery, this activity was by no means the only factor in explaining this rebound. Furthermore, the American War had an impact upon other sectors of the Liverpudlian economy, including shipbuilding and infrastructure projects. Combined, this evidence suggests that eighteenth century warfare had both positive and negative repercussions for the UK economy. As a result, we learn more about being ‘at home with the empire’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History on 16th September 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03086534.2016.1227134
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2103 Historical Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 04:10
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/03086534.2016.1227134
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4618
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