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Title: Money or merit? : the early development of a modern officer promotion process in the British Army, 1815-1830
Author: Morse, R. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 8379
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1978
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In 1815, the British Army's officer promotion process, comprising the functions of entry, promotion and after-care, had two parallel methods of operating. One was the purchase system, whose basic principle asserted that an officer's military career was dependent upon his ability to pay the specified sums for his successive regimental promotions. As private capital financed this arrangement, it had a largely self-governing and diffuse administration. --The other avenue of advancement was the non-purchase system, which rested on the assumption that professional entry, promotion and after-care were given free by the State to officers selected by the Commander in Chief. Since the public paid for this programme, it was subject to a greater degree of central control and regulation. -- Although the two systems were interdependent, they developed very differently after the Napoleonic wars. Those great conflicts exposed the purchase system's inherent weaknesses and compelled some fundamental revisions. The overwhelming post-war demand for retrenchment both confirmed these alterations and initiated others within the non-purchase system. -- Such changes were achieved through two broad means. First, the external pressure of political and social influence exerted by Right and Left - sometimes in uneasy combination - produced decisive effects. Second, the more unobtrusive method of administration development, with its pattern of rationalisation, codification, co-ordination, innovation and consolidation, created both new institutions and fresh battles over them. -- Sweeping progress in this aspect of military affairs was retarded by the genuine constitutional and social difficulties in loosening the connections between the army and the governing class. These problems, together with the perennial conundrum of individual freedom versus collective authority, confined the most significant achievements to the non-purchase system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available