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Napoleon’s Empire Collapses

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1 Napoleon’s Empire Collapses
Ch. 23.4 No Way!

2 Napoleon needs an heir Napoleon was worried that his empire would fall apart if he didn’t have a son. He divorced his wife, Josephine, and married Marie Louise – the grand-niece of Marie Antoinette. In 1811, Marie Louise gave birth to a son, Napoleon II.

3 Marie Louise and Napoleon II


5 Franz Napoleon II

6 Power Hungry Napoleon’s own personality proved to be the greatest danger to the future of his empire. “I love power as a musician loves his violin.” It was the drive for power that had raised Napoleon to great heights, and the same love of power led to his doom.

7 Napoleon’s Three Costly Mistakes
The Continental System The Peninsular War The Invasion of Russia

8 The Continental System
In November 1806, Napoleon signed a decree ordering a blockade to close all ports to prevent trade and communication between Great Britain and other European nations. It was intended to destroy Britain’s commercial and industrial economy. This policy was called the Continental System.


10 Blockade not tight enough
British smugglers managed to bring cargo from Britain into Europe. Napoleon’s blockade only weakened the British economy, but did not destroy it.

11 British Blockade Great Britain responded with its own blockade
The British navy stopped ships bound for the European continent and forced them to sail to a British port to be searched and taxed. Because the British had a stronger navy, they were more effective with their blockade.

12 America gets involved American ships were among those stopped by the British navy. Angry, the U.S. Congress declared war on Britain in 1812. The War of 1812 ended in a draw and was only a minor inconvenience to Britain.


14 Impact of Continental System
The Continental System hurt Napoleon more than it hurt Britain. It weakened the economies of France and the other lands under Napoleon’s control more than it damaged Britain. It was highly ineffective.

15 The Peninsular War In 1808, Napoleon made a second costly mistake.
Portugal ignored the Continental System. Napoleon sent an army through Spain to invade Portugal.

16 New Spanish King Spanish people rioted in protest to the French army.
Napoleon kicked out their defeated king and placed his brother, Joseph, on the throne. This move outraged the Spanish people because they were loyal to their former king.


18 Spain was devoutly Catholic, with a long history of persecuting those of other faiths.
The French Revolution weakened the Catholic Church in France, and Spanish Catholics feared that their French conquerors would weaken the church in Spain. The French outlawed the Spanish Inquisition.

19 It was difficult for Napoleon to fight them in open battle.
For five years ( ), bands of Spanish peasant fighters, guerrillas, attacked French armies in Spain. They were ordinary people who ambushed French troops and then fled into hiding. It was difficult for Napoleon to fight them in open battle. Great Britain also sent troops to Spain to help. Why did Great Britain send troops to help Spain?



22 Napoleon lost about 300,000 men during the Peninsular War
Napoleon lost about 300,000 men during the Peninsular War. (It was called the Peninsular War because Spain lies on the Iberian Peninsula) These losses weakened the French Empire.

23 Monument in Spain dedicated to the Peninsular War.

24 Invasion of Russia In 1812, Napoleon’s thirst for power led to his most disastrous mistake of all. In June 1812, Napoleon’s army marched into Russia. Many of this troops were not French. They were drafted from all over Europe Had little loyalty for Napoleon

25 Scorched-Earth policy
As Napoleon advanced through Russia, Czar Alexander retreated towards Moscow. They burned grain fields and slaughtered livestock to leave nothing the enemy could eat. Desperate soldiers deserted the French army to search for scraps of food.

26 On September 7, 1812, the two armies finally clashed in the Battle of Borodino.
Napoleon gained the city of Moscow. When Napoleon finally entered Moscow on September 14, he found it in flames. He stayed in the city for five weeks, expecting the czar to make a peace offer, but no offer ever came.

27 Battle of Borodino


29 Napoleon Retreats By then, it was the middle of October, too late to advance farther and too late to retreat. Napoleon ordered his starving army to turn back. As the snow began to fall in November, Russian raiders attacked Napoleon’s ragged, retreating army.

30 “Many of the survivors were walking barefoot, using pieces of wood as canes, but their feet were frozen so hard that the sound they made on the road was like that of wooden clogs.” As soldiers staggered through the snow, many dropped in their tracks from wounds, exhaustion, hunger, and cold.

31 The temperature fell to 30 degrees below zero.
It was so cold that dead birds fell from the sky. Finally, in the middle of December, the last survivors straggled out of Russia. Napoleon only had 10,000 soldiers left.

32 The Russian Winter




36 All of Europe goes to war
Napoleon’s enemies were quick to take advantage of his weakness. Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden joined forces against him in the Fourth Coalition. All European powers were now at war with France.

37 France vs.

38 Napoleon raises another army.
His veteran trained soldiers were long gone. He was left with inexperienced soldiers. He faced his enemies outside the German city of Leipzig, October 1813. The Coalition cut his inexperienced army to pieces.


40 By January 1814, armies of Austrians, Russians, and Prussians, pushed toward Paris.
In March, the Russian Czar and the Prussian King led their troops in a triumphant parade through the French capital. Napoleon wanted to keep fighting, but his generals refused.


42 Nappy is banished In April 1814, Napoleon gave up his throne and accepted the terms of surrender. Napoleon received a small pension and was banished to Elba, a tiny island off the coast of Italy.


44 French Monarchy Restored
Louis VXIII, brother of the guillotined king Louis XVI’s son died in prison in 1795 The new king became unpopular quickly. His subjects, especially the peasants, suspected him of wanting to undo the Revolution’s land reforms.

45 King Louis XVIII

46 But….Nappy makes a comeback
The news that the French king was in trouble encouraged Napoleon to try to regain power. He escaped from Elba on March 1, 1815. “Victory will march at full speed” “You will be the liberators of your country.” Thousands of French people welcomed him back. Volunteers joined his army.

47 Napoleon was again emperor of France.
Louis XVIII fled to the border.

48 In response, the European allies quickly called their armies.
The British army led by the Duke of Wellington, prepared for battle near the village of Waterloo in Belgium. On June 8, 1815, Napoleon attacked.

49 Duke of Wellington

50 Battle of Waterloo


52 The British army defended its ground all day.
The Prussian army arrived for backup, and together they attacked Napoleon. Two days later, Napoleon’s exhausted troops gave way, and the British and Prussian forces chased them from the field.

53 Nappy’s Defeat This defeat ended Napoleon’s last grasp for power, called the Hundred Days, because he ruled for 100 days. The British exiled Napoleon to St. Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic. He lived there for six years and wrote his memoirs. He died in 1821 of a stomach ailment (maybe cancer) His son was 10 years old.


55 He was emperor for 10 years, exiled to Elba for 1 year, and ruled again for 100 days. Then he was exiled to St. Helena for 6 years. Alexis de Tocqueville summed up Napoleon’s character by saying “He was as great as a man can be without virtue.” Napoleon’s defeat opened the door for the freed European countries to establish a new order.

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