This section focuses on the wars and international upheavals precipitated by the struggles for independence and attempts at empire building that characterise the Age of Revolution.

The American and French revolutions were not merely internal affairs, affecting only the governance of their own countries. Because of the nature of global connections and empires by the late 1700s, they seriously disrupted stability, commercial relations and longstanding social orders across the Atlantic world. For Britain, this meant it was almost constantly at war between the start of the period to 1815, through attempts to quash uprisings in colonies in North America and Ireland, to defending territories and trade routes under threat from France during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.