27 Feb 2023


The Military Revolution of the 16th Century

Format: Chicago

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 670

Pages: 2

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In history, a revolution is known as a turning point in history. Ideally, a revolution is a violent and transformative incidence that has an objective of changing a country, region or a particular society. Some revolution are such a great phenomenon that they transformed the world. It is reported that revolutions have different purposes and motivations. For instance, the American Revolution reportedly had an intention of transforming the political order that was in effect in the country. On the other hand, the Russian and Chinese revolutions had a principal objective of pushing for radical social and economic change. Typically revolutions are rapid, happen within a short time, they bring significant changes and are led by people or a group who are motivated by hope, idealism, and dreams that would be used to improve the country or a society. The results are characterized by historic confrontations, conflicts, distortion or major division; for this to happen there are wars, violence and human suffering. 

It is evident there was a warfare change in Europe between 1500 and 1700, but the primary question that we strive to answer in this essay is whether the changes that occurred could be termed as a military revolution. In this essay, a revolution will be considered a fast, complete total transformation within the military, countries and the European region. The works of historian authors and the theses of their studies will be explored to confirm whether they are convincing on the issue of occurrence of a military revolution in Europe between 1500 and 1700. 

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One of the most influential journals ever published on this topic is the Parker article titled “the Military revolution, 1560 – 1660 – a myth? The author had a thesis that the aforementioned period was a time of the major changes in warfare and military organizations and he observes that there was indeed a military revolution 1 . The author had an objection of examining the historian arguments on the military evolution based on newer ideas. In his quest, he explored some famous works by historian authors. For instance, he claims that the description that some ideology that “the sixteenth century constituted a most uninteresting period in European military history 2 ” was baseless and it was surprising that history scholars failed to examine it. 

Some historians claimed that a military occurred in Europe and associated it with the introduction of gunpowder, weapons, tactics, and change of political structures 3 . As a consequence of induction of gunpowder and other artillery in the army, there was a rise of larger, stronger standing armies. These eventually changed the government and political structures. Therefore most theses which confirmed that a military revolution occurred are based on some principal factors such as tactics, strategy scale, and impact on the society. However, I would not say I am convinced by the thesis because some stronger army in Europe already had stronger standing armies that were well trained with well-defined administration systems 4 . The described transformation of military force by the introduction of the military force was not rapid; therefore was not fast and complete, it took time to institute. 

The Parker argument of 1976 stated that military revolution was occurring and it brought in changes in the military force and made them overcome threats by their enemies 5 . However, these arguments are unconvincing because it makes innovation during the other centuries such as the late 19th century to look vague. The warfare and tactics varied in different centuries, and therefore the basis of tactics and weapon is quite shallow. The Black, Jeremy article of 2008 argues that historian has been wrong on stating that a military argument occurred because they are dubious 6 . This is because military revolution and warfare have changed a now military practice is based on thought, doctrine, planning, and procurement. There has been an introduction of information technology that has brought transformation in command and control and duties of the military officers. Therefore I would say that the Black Jeremy argument is more convincing than those of previous authors. 


Black, Jeremy. "Was there a military revolution in early Modern Europe?." History Today 58, no. 7 (2008): 34. 

Geoffrey Parker, “The ‘Military Revolution’ 1560-1660 – a Myth?” The Journal of Modern History 48, no. 2 (1976): 195-214. 

Roberts, Michael. "The military revolution, 1560-1660." In The military revolution debate, pp. 13-36. Routledge, 2018. 

1 Geoffrey Parker, “The ‘Military Revolution’ 1560-1660 – a Myth?” The Journal of Modern History  

2 Parker, “The ‘Military Revolution’ 1560-1660 – a Myth?” 

3 Roberts, Michael. "The military revolution, 1560-1660." In The military revolution debate, Routledge, 2018. 

4 Roberts, "The military revolution, 1560-1660." In The military revolution debate, 2018. 

5 Parker, “The ‘Military Revolution’ 1560-1660 – a Myth?” The Journal of Modern History  

6 Black, Jeremy. "Was there a military revolution in early Modern Europe?." History Today 58, no. 7 (2008): 34. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). The Military Revolution of the 16th Century.


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