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The Continental System

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1 The Continental System
Section 10.49

2 Questions to Consider Describe Napoleon’s efforts to find a basis other than force for the unification of Europe. How did he hope to exploit existing attitudes toward Great Britain? In what basic way did the British blockade and Napoleon’s Continental System resemble each other? How did the United States become involved in this economic warfare? Results? Explain the objective of Napoleon’s Continental System with respect to the economy of Continental Europe. What were the chief reasons for the failure of the Continental System? What effect did it have as a short-range war measure?

3 Introduction Objective of Continental System is to crush Great Britain to unify and master all of Europe Bonaparte used common themes of Enlightenment to inspire his allies Encouraged rationalism, scientific inquiry, modernity, progressivism the end of medievalism, feudalism, ignorance !!! Yet he evoked Romanism (all European Feeling) and the glory of the past Architecture reflects Imperial Glory Massive empire furniture, He built the Arch of Triumph ( ) Church of the Madeleine=temple to glory Also worked up latent hostility toward Britain jealousy toward their success and methods of keeping it Continentals felt the danger of British sea power for commerce of others

4 British Blockade & Napoleon’s Continental System
Chief aim of British blockade was to undermine enemy commerce British did not expect to starve them out or deprive them of necessary war materials Western Europe was self-sufficient in food, armaments accepted trade with British goods on the Continent but by depriving enemy commerce, it would diminish revenues of gov and weaken its position in world markets

5 Anti-British Sentiments
Britain labeled as a modern Carthage Ruthless, profit-seeking power trying to enslave Europe GB did in fact have a monopoly in overseas shipping and Industrial Rev was beginning to produce cheap cloth Strong anti-GB feeling among bourgeoisie, commercial classes “a nation of shopkeepers” according to Nap Fighting with bank accounts not blood Napoleon beat the anti English drum to unify Europe (Incubus) Purpose of both Cont System and British blockade is to destroy the enemy's commerce, credit, public revenues by destroying its exports while at the same time build up markets for itself

6 Trade Warfare Berlin Decree (Napoleon)
prohibits importation of British goods Orders in Council of 11/1807(Britain) neutrals must stop in British ports before entering continent (where they could load up some of their own goods) Milan Decree (Napoleon) 12/1807 Neutral ships that traded with Britain would be confiscated U.S. is only neutral Jefferson declares Embargo Act (a self-imposed commercial isolation) Embargo against European goods fails U.S. aggress to trade only with the first to lift the restrictions Napoleon is first to respond (no Parliament to consult) U.S. declares war on Britain Anglo-American War 1812 Dismal outcome for U.S (Canada) Napoleon Bonaparte playing chess with King George III

7 The Failure of the Continental System
Purpose was to set up a EU type of integrated economy for the whole Continent Worst than a failure Caused widespread antagonism to Napoleon’s regime Sugar and Tobacco demands caused the Continental system to fail ‘the destinies of Europe tuned upon a barrel of sugar!’ Nap Was demand for Continental goods biggest problem was transportation (goods had to be moved over land) slow and expensive compared to water transport System favored France and failed to stop trade to new markets for Britain Satellites forbidden to have tariff against France but France had one against them Eastern Europeans needed manufactured goods and couldn’t get them Poland, Prussia, and Russia couldn’t sell their produce Ie. Aristocracy in E. Europe sympathized with Brits Continental system hurt GB but not too bad Made up for lost trade with expanded trade in Latin American Annual income of Brits more than doubled (L140 Mil to 335 Mil from )

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