Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution | Wilson Center
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Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution is often credited to Britain’s unique genius for invention and enterprise. Through the story of the Galton family - a Quaker family and Britain’s most prominent gunmakers in the eighteenth century - Professor Satia argues that it was in fact war that drove the Industrial Revolution. When Galton’s fellow Quakers condemned his profession for violating their sect’s pacifist principles, his self-defense connected arms-manufacturing - and the state's war needs generally - to the region's industrial prosperity.

Priya Satia is Professor of History at Stanford University, was educated at Stanford, the LSE, and UC Berkeley. She is the prize-winning author of Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East (2008) and Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution (2018). Her work has also appeared in academic journals, edited collections, and popular media such as the Nation, Financial Times, Time, and Washington Post.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University