The Military Revolution

Essay by Matt2124University, Bachelor'sB, November 2014

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Parker 10

When Michael Roberts delivered his lecture entitled "The Military Revolution, 1560-1660" at the Queen's University of Belfast in January 1955, he addressed a void in the historical timeline which had been curiously neglected up until then. As often the case in the world of history, there have been a number of follow up papers published since that time which have questioned, modified and expanded the original thesis presented by Roberts. The principle reasoning for Roberts' extensive research was an attempt to address the monumental changes that characterized the battlefield between the Middle Ages and of those which became common by the end of the Early Modern era. Furthermore, he sought an explanation for the impact these changes had on contributing to the emergence of the West as the major military power in the world.

The past half-century has led to a full blown debate between historians, as they have come to disagree on a number of key elements imperative for the acceptance of a complete historical theory.

The most highly debated issue at hand seems to be giving a time frame for when the bulk of these revolutions took place. In fact, the four hypothesis examined in this paper have all suggested a different timeline for the bulk of change. Other differing opinions include the question of which European power should be credited with the origin of change; or if it was rather a collection of different empires. Finally, is there a specific invention or revolution to point towards, or are we looking at the outcome of a series of events, centuries in the making?

As can be assumed by the title, Roberts placed the bulk of the revolution in the century spanning from 1560-1660. He based his hypothesis on four significant changes, which appeared in...