The Sinews of War, the Sun King, and the Financial Burdens and Perils of Being a Superpower

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper was given to the research seminar of the Centre for Early Modern History at Trinity College Dublin. The paper takes Paul Kennedy's famous 30-year-old thesis about the rise and fall of great powers, and provides a particular angle on understanding exactly how strategic and imperial overstretch can do catastrophic financial and, in turn, strategic damage to a major power - in this case Louis XIV's France. In the paper, the accent is placed upon the huge burdens and wealth transfer problems caused by moving colossal state resources abroad.
Period18 Feb 2019
Held atTrinity College Dublin, Ireland
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Financial History
  • Strategy
  • Louis XIV
  • Paul Kennedy
  • overstretch
  • decline
  • great powers