Chapter 3: Abstract

Wars, States and Gender in Early Modern Warfare, 1600s–1780s

(Peter H. Wilson, Oxford University, All Souls College) 



The major changes in preparing, conducting and controlling war in Europe from around 1650 to about 1780 are the central themes of this chapter, which studies them from the perspective of gender history. The opening historiographical section advocates a closer integration of approaches so that we may understand the impact of gender on war, as well as its place in war and military institutions. The next section explains how gender featured in the regulatory framework consolidated by later seventeenth-century states to curb warfare’s costs and excesses. The place of gender in command, combat and logistical support is explored in the third part, while the final section examines military institutions as elements within a corporate social order. Throughout, it will be argued that change across this period remained a matter of degrees rather than absolutes, with the characterization of male and female roles and spaces broadly similar to those prior to 1650, but were marked by greater regulation and permanence.



Absolutism; Campaign Communities; Corporate Society; Mercenaries; Militia; Standing Armies; Gender; Men; Women; Thirty Years War; Seven Years War; Europe.

In Part I “From the Thirty Years War and Colonial Conquest to the Wars of Revolution and Independence” of the Oxford Handbook of Gender and War since 1600.

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