'Pursuit of Happiness' begins with Peter the Great having taken control in Russia, the conflict that develops in Europe resulting in the creation of the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV's expansion of power, and the growing divide between America and Great Britain. It traces the development of the ideas of the Enlightenment to their application in the American colonies as well as the spread of imperialism by Britain in India. The application of knowledge to industry is explored and the advantages to Britain's increasingly powerful position in Europe. The educated, articulate middle class in most countries strives for a sharing of power but is frustrated in its desire to gain more political rights. There is a growing consciousness in Britain and, to some extent in America, of the travesty of slavery and the slave trade. The book ends on a more optimistic note when America declares its independence.