WHILE THE FIRST modern age of empires could be said to have ended with the British defeat in the American Revolution in 1783, the modern age of imperialism can arbitrarily be dated from the same historic event. Having lost its main overseas market in the infant United States, Great Britain in effect retaliated with a trade war that did not really draw to a close until the “Second American War of Independence” in the War of 1812. When that conflict ended with the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814, the new United States and Great Britain entered a historic friendship that has never seriously been dimmed to this day.

When the French Revolution overthrew the ancient Bourbon monarchy in 1792 and later executed King Louis XVI ...

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