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Forum on Geopolitics

Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Studying at Cambridge


Britain and Europe

Britain and Europe

The United Kingdom is a product of Europe, the union between Scotland and England having resulted from the imperative to fight the absolutist and expansionist France of Louis XIV. Since then, the union model of governance has enabled Britain to punch above its weight in the world and was later adopted with important modifications by the United States.

Britain has long been an exceptional power in Europe, in that it has escaped invasion and occupation for hundreds of years and has retained control of its national currency. But British security and prosperity have depended on the state of the European state system for as long as anybody can remember. Indeed, for centuries, Britain's engagement with the wider world has been largely driven by her concern with Europe.

This research project will take a long view of the relationship between Britain and the European continent, focussing particularly on the balance between continental and colonial concerns, the balance of power, and the co-existence of national identity and European sentiment over the ages.

This will then contribute to the 'Brexit-Euroexit' project's attempts to find viable solutions for the challenges of today.

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