Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

The limits of social mobility: social origins and career patterns of British generals, 1688-1815

Wood, Andrew B. (2011) The limits of social mobility: social origins and career patterns of British generals, 1688-1815. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract

Late eighteenth-century Britain was dominated by two features of economic life that were a major departure from previous eras, the economic growth of the Industrial Revolution and almost constant warfare conducted on a previously unprecedented scale. One consequence of this was the rapid expansion, diversification and development of the professions. Sociologists and economists have often argued that economic development and modernisation leads to increasing rates of social mobility. However, historians of the army and professions in the eighteenth-century claim the upper levels of the army were usually isolated from mobility as the highest ranks were dominated by sons of the aristocracy and landed elite. Some claim social status was more important for career success in the late eighteenth-century army compared to its earlier counterpart, which if true may have led to declining rates of social mobility for the upper levels of the army. This PhD thesis investigates the limits of social mobility during this period by examining the social origins and career patterns of the highest professional rank in the army, generals. This study finds that generals were not isolated from social mobility. Modernisation did lead to increasing rates of social mobility among generals. However, mobility was limited in some respects. The rates of social mobility for generals were much lower than ordinary officers. In addition, most moves up the social hierarchy were fairly shallow. Generals usually came from relatively high levels of society and hence they were generally only moving from a high social position to a slightly higher one.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Andrew B. Wood
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Howlett, Peter and Wallis, Patrick
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/223

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics