Hollow Victory? Britain's Public Debt and the Seven Years' War


  • Jari Eloranta Appalachian State University
  • Jeremy Land Appalachian State University


This article addresses the implications of the cost of warfare and the debt burdens that typically arise from conflicts. It examines how much Britain’s public debt rose during and after the Seven Years’ War and the implications of this growth. While it considers the various reasons for the dramatic rise, the primary focus is military spending. The addition of the North American continent as a major theater of war created the need for higher spending and helped double the national debt from the pre-war total. As with modern economic issues, contemporary discussion of the debt crisis became a normal talking point in letters and political debates. Ultimately, this article supports the argument that the Seven Years’ War contributed to the American Revolution via the unexpected fiscal pressures on Great Britain.