April 2015 Modern History Review 1688 The Glorious Revolution in England. James II flees to France. William and Mary takeover English throne 1756Start of Seven Years War Charles Walton is an associate professor of European history at the University of Warwick. Imperial and economic competition Religious tensions became less acute in the eighteenth century, and people increasingly saw themselves as belonging to a nation. The rise of national consciousness and public opinion made kings vulnerable to criticism. In this context, wars between the two powers were concerned less with religion and more with imperial and commercial competition. The Seven Years War (1756–63) pitted the two nations against each other over territorial claims in North America, the Caribbean and south Asia. Britain won that war but, due to Frances generous support of North American rebels, lost its American colonies in the American War of Independence (These wars drove both nations deep into debt. In 1786 the French regime pressed Britain to sign ab commercial treaty liberalising trade between the two nations. However, the arrival of cheap British imports soon struck at France’s fledgling manufacturing industries, adding to the economic crisis and popular discontent in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Prime minister William Pitt the Younger initially adopted a neutral stance with regard to the Revolution. But as the situation in France radicalised, British opinion shifted and Britain and France went to war in early 1793. France’s army attained unprecedented size as soldier citizens fought with patriotic zeal. In 1806, Britain blockaded France’s coasts, prompting Napoleon to declare ab halt to all trade with Britain in his now immense Continental Empire. Relative peace After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, relations between France and Britain took a peaceful turn. Aside from periodic tensions over imperial claims, notably in Egypt (sand Africa sands, the situation remained peaceful for the next two centuries. France and Britain were allies in the Crimean War (1854–56) and both world wars. Economic and political cooperation grew stronger in the late twentieth century in the context of the European Union.