Chapter 2: Abstract

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

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

In Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600, ed. by Karen Hagemann et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 75-95.



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 chapter suggests that a closer integration of the approaches of the early modern history of military and war and gender history will allow a better understanding of the impact of gender on war, as well as its place in war and military institutions. The chapter therefore explore first how gender featured in the regulatory framework consolidated by later seventeenth-century states to curb warfare’s costs and excesses. Afterward it studies the place of gender in command, combat, and logistical support, and examines military institutions as elements within a corporate social order. Throughout, the chapter argues 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 marked by greater regulation and permanence.



Early modern wars; Europe; absolutism; contract armies; state commission armies, mercenaries; campaign communities; camp followers; gender.

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

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