This is the text of a paper I wrote for my undergrad that I found yesterday while looking through the folders on my computer for something else and decidedÂ I would post here. It is not the best writing I have ever done but I like and still agree with the conclusion I came to in it.
In the years before the French Revolution, warfare in Europe was moribund at best. The wars of the period were dynastic wars fought to maintain the traditional balance of power and were generally limited in scale and scope. The armies of this era were professional armies with an aristocratic officer class and private soldiers drawn from the lowest segments of society and subject to brutal discipline. Desertion and looting were rife in the pre-revolutionary or old regime armyâ€™s, which partly explains the discipline, the other part of the discipline equation was the need for soldiers to execute their battlefield actions in concert to maximize the effect of their weapons. Â Lastly, pre-revolutionary eighteenth century warfare was characterized by small field armies, reliance on depots for supplies, mechanistic battlefield evolutions, and wars for limited gains.