Robert Clive began his career in Madras on an annual salary of 5 pounds per annum. His presence in the successful siege of Arcot gained him adulation and his involvement in the conquest of Bengal made him a cynosure of the British public. He was made the Governor of Bengal twice from 1757- 1760 and 1765- 1767. During the period of 1757-1760 he made remarkable achievements. He got the monopoly of saltpeter trade in Bihar for British East India Company. In 1757 he fought the battle of Plassey and got the virtual mastery of Bengal. He defeated Dutch in 1759. Thus Clive established and maintained the supremacy of the English in Bengal. He was appointed Governor of Bengal in 1765-1767 for the second time.
In 1765 Robert Clive introduced the Dual System of Government for the Bengal province. By his dual system he made the company a great power but with no responsibility. Under this system the administration was divided between the company and the Nawab but the whole power was actually concentrated in the hands of the company. This complex system remained in practice during the period from 1765 to 1772. Under this system the company undertook the defense and left the civil administration in the hands of Nawab. The Nawab was paid Rs 53 lakhs annually for administration but after two years it was reduced to Rs 32 lakh rupees.
Robert Clive also introduced certain civil and military reforms with a view to purifying the administration of the Company. The private trade was prohibited and the extra allowance for the army in peacetime was abolished.