Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D., Professor of History

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D. Professor of History

Department Home page

First Reader

David A. Carson, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor

Second Reader

Jill Gradwell, Professor of History and Social Studies Education


In 1757, a global struggle ensued between Great Britain and France. Britain had faltered in the early stages of the Seven Years’ War until William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, became the Southern Secretary of State. During his tenure, he shifted the focus away from Europe, instead focusing on North America. It was the strategy he employed that destroyed the French Empire in the New World and created the large and powerful British Empire. It was his success that elevated him to popularity in both Britain and the Thirteen American Colonies. His success would cause King George III to grant him peerage, establishing him as Earl of Chatham in 1761. While Pitt may have found success leading the British to a global victory, he failed to address the financial ramifications of this victory. After leaving his position at the conclusion of the war, he failed to develop or implement policy that addressed the political, economic and imperial effects of the new empire. When he did have opportunities to guide policy, he could never reconcile his idealistic view of the colonies and the realities facing the British Empire. This thesis will analyze the two profiles of William Pitt. One was the successful wartime leader and the second was the ineffective peacetime politician who was unable to deal with the growing strain between Britain and her colonies and their eventual separation.

Included in

History Commons