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The French Revolution And The Age of Napoleon SO 101 World History
Rise of French Absolutism The Bourbon Dynasty As a result of the Hundred Year’s War, France developed a powerful monarchy by the end of the Middle Ages. Religious wars between Catholics and Huguenots (Calvinists) divided France in the 16 th century. In 1589, a Huguenot noble, Henri Duke of Navarre, was able to claim the throne and to end the violence converted to Catholicism while proclaiming toleration of the Huguenots (Edict of Nantes),France became the first nation to allow two forms of Christianity to coexist. As King Henri IV, he established the Bourbon Dynasty which would rule France down to the Revolution of 1787.
Henry IV All Paris is worth A Mass.
Bourbon Dynasty Henri IV worked to restore the prosperity of France and the power of the monarchy. Despite this, in 1610 he was assassinated by a Dominican monk who believed that his conversion had been a pretense. Henri had a young son, Louis XIII, who was totally unprepared to rule, but the son had an advisor, the Duke Cardinal Richelieu, who ran the kingdom from 1624 until 1642 and who succeeded in making the King the most powerful man in France and France the most powerful nation in Europe. To do so, he would reduce the power of the French nobility and support Protestant princes waging war against the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor.
Cardinal Richelieu Louis XIII
Bourbon Dynasty Louis XIII, held by some to be the most stupid man ever to be king, survived Richelieu by one year. In 1643 the throne passed to his infant son Louis XIV. He would become France’s greatest monarch and the most absolute of absolute monarchs. Louis took advantage of the work of Richelieu and, after 1661, ruled without a chief advisor until his death in Whatever Louis wanted, Louis got. “L’ etat c’est moi.” he famously proclaimed, “I am the state.”
Louis XIV The Sun King
Louis XIV Louis reduced the power of the old nobility, the nobles of the sword. He created a new group of bureaucrats, the nobles of the robe, who owed their positions and titles to him. He divided France into administrative units which had no relation to the former feudal boundaries. He increased taxes and made their collections more efficient. He pursued a policy of mercantilism, which sought to increase wealth by expanding production, reducing imports and establishing overseas colonies, especially in Canada. The more wealth France had, the less wealth other countries would have.
Louis XIV The Sun King He constructed a huge palace at Versailles, a day’s journey from Paris. He spent much of his time there, forcing the nobles to play the parts of servants while they squandered their fortunes to pay for the costs of serving in the court. The Gilded Cage of Versailles In 1685, he revoked the Edict of Nantes and forced all Huguenots to either convert to Catholicism or leave France, most of them left and with them a good portion of France’s commercial and manufacturing leadership. He led France into 4 major wars, to expand its boundaries and its power in Europe. He created the largest Army in the Western World. He also drove virtually every other nation in Europe into alliances aimed against France. England emerged as his greatest rival.
Louis XIV and Louis XV Every European Court imitated his fashion and styles, while opposing his power. He increased France’s debt beyond its ability to pay it off through taxes and began to borrow to cover the deficit. Louis XIV outlived his son and grandson, he died in 1715, after a reign of 72 years, the longest of any monarch, and was succeeded by his great- grandson, Louis XV. Louis XV continued to spend money lavishly. His armies continued to fight wars in Europe and North America. Ultimately fighting and losing the 7 Year’s War. France’s debt continued to grow. He outlived his son and was succeeded, in 1774, by his grandson, Louis XVI.
Louis XV, Louis XVI and Friends
The Ancien Regime The Monarch The social order of France, and to a great degree the rest Europe, had remained largely unchanged from the beginning of the modern era to the 18 th century. The Monarch, whose power was absolute, ruled by divine right. He answered only to God, and then only after his death. He was surrounded by the members of the extended royal family and served by both nobles and low- born servants. Royals were above every class in the country, they were related to royal families in other countries. It was good to be the king!
Ancien Regime First Estate In France, and in other Catholic Countries, The highest level of society, below the royal family, was made up of members of the Roman Catholic Clergy. In France they were called the First Estate. Less than 1% of the total population Included Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots, Priests and Religious Controlled about 1/3 of the wealth of France Provided virtually all social as well as religious services Open to individuals of all social groups Paid no taxes—no one can tax God, or his servants. Collected the Tithe—tenth—from members of the church Upheld the traditional systems of society and opposed secular beliefs of the Enlightenment.
Ancien Regime Second Estate The Nobility made up the Second Estate. Because they represented worldly power, they ranked below the Clergy who represented divine authority. About 2% of the population They controlled about 1/3 of the nation’s wealth They paid no taxes They collected dues, rents, fees and corvee labor from the commoners who lived and worked on their estates Nobles of the Sword dated to the Medieval Era and felt that they should have a greater share of power Nobles of the Robe were given titles by the King and served in the government. They sometimes argued for major reforms All Nobles believed that Noble rights should be retained.
Third Estate Commoners The remaining 98% of the population, were assigned to the Third Estate. The poorest peasant and the richest merchant were regarded as Commoners and so belonged to the 3 rd Estate Farmers, workers in shops and factories, doctors, lawyers, merchants and bankers; extremely rich and very poor are all regarded as equal to each other and inferior to the other estates They paid all of the taxes collected by the Monarchy They generate most of the wealth of the state by their labor and enterprise They filled the ranks of the Army They had no voice in the government of France They included an emerging middle class who supported the Enlightenment
The three Estates of France
1788 Calling of the Estates General By 1788, the economic problems of France reinforced by nearly a decade of agricultural disasters reached the breaking point. Jacques Neckar, Minister of Finance, proposed to the king that only by extending taxes to the 1 st and 2 nd Estates could the economy of France be saved from total collapse. To bring this about, Neckar advised that the King summon into session the Estates General, an advisory body of representative of all 3 estates which had last convened in the early reign of Louis XIV. The King would inform them of the crisis and request that they approve taxes on the two exempt estates.
Calling of the Estates General Each estate would elect its own members, with the first two estates having far more representatives than the 3 rd Estate. Each estate would meet separately and vote separately. It was expected that all three would approve his request. To “sweeten” the deal, the king requested that each estate prepare a “Cahier” or petition of grievances to present to him for his possible consideration. The Estates would convene at Versailles in April of Marie Antoinette voiced her opposition to the entire scheme but was ignored.
Calling of the Estates General The 1 st and 2 nd Estate were not thrilled by the prospect of new taxes on them, but did feel that the meeting might provide them with an opportunity to increase their power and protect their wealth. The 3 rd Estate was most excited with the prospect of both tax relief and being heard. Abbe Sieyes, a parish priest and member of the 3 rd Estate wrote a pamphlet, “What is the 3 rd Estate?” Which captured the imagination of many members of the middle class in that it promised that they might someday guide the future of the country.
May 1789 Meeting of the Estates General Representatives of the 3 Estates gathered at Versailles. For many of the 3 rd Estate it was their first time inside the palace. The King welcomed them in his “Address from the Throne.” He commanded them to meet in separate sessions, but the 3 rd Estate promptly demanded that all 3 Estates continue to meet collectively. When both the king and the members of the other estates refused this request, the 3 rd Estate refused to vote on any other measure, including the taxation of the 1 st and 2nd estates. The entire process had broken down.
Tennis Court Oath The National Assembly After several weeks of stalemate, the Queen prevailed on the King to dismiss the Estates General. On May 22, by Royal Decree, the Estates were pirogued or dismissed, as was the King’s right. To ensure obedience, he ordered guards stationed at the entrances to the chambers being used by each estate to meet. On May 23, when the 3 rd Estate was turned away from their hall, they moved to the Tennis Court and swore an Oath to remain in session until a Constitution was adopted. They renamed themselves the National Assembly and invited members of the other Estates to join them. A few did so although most packed up and left. The King did nothing.
July 14, 1789 Bastille Day The Queen convinced the King that Swiss mercenaries should be brought into France, in the event that the Assembly got out of hand. They were quartered on the Champ de Mars, where the Eiffel Tower now stands. Their presence worried the underemployed masses of Paris, the Sans-Cullottes ( Men without Pants) who believed the Swiss might be used against them. They in turn decided to arm themselves by capturing the weapons stored in the Bastille, a medieval fortress now used as an armory and lunatic asylum.
Bastille Day The Sans-Culottes acted spontaneously and marched on the Bastille. When the commander refused to surrender the arsenal to them, they managed to break in and in the process butchered the small garrison. They seized the weapons and freed the lunatics. July 14, 1789 would become day 1 of year 1 of the revolutionary calendar. It is still celebrated as France’s most important national holiday. At Versailles, neither the King nor the National Assembly had any idea of what had happened.
The Great Fear and The National Guard As knowledge of the Bastille attack spread, a number of consequences did develop. In the Countryside, the peasants began to attack the country houses of the nobles to procure weapons for themselves as the sans-Culottes had done in the city. At the same time they burned tax and rent records held by the nobles. They did not attack the nobles themselves. Many nobles fled the country as Emigres. In Paris, the Middle Class decided to arm itself to protect itself from the armed Sans-Culottes. They formed the National Guard and chose the Marquis de Lafayette to command it.
Law Of August 4 & Declaration of the Rights of Man The National Assembly pressed forward with several revolutionary proposals. On August 4, they announced that the feudal privileges of the 2 nd Estate were abolished. Feudalism was dead, dues and fees were eliminated, Nobles were no longer superior to commoners before the law. They did this on their own authority and did not consult the king before or after the fact. On August 27, they proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man which held that all men were equal, had equal rights and were all subject to one law. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
Constitutional Monarchy The National Assembly continued to define the nature of the new government of France. The executive power of the monarch would be defined and limited by the terms of the Constitution Legislative power and control of taxation would reside in the Legislative branch and the king could not veto their laws The Judiciary would be independent of both King and Legislature The rights of the citizens to free speech, assembly, worship and to vote for the legislature would be guaranteed. The 1 st Constitution was completed in the Spring of 1791.
Women’s March on Versailles October 5, 1789 Long before the Constitution was completed or accepted by the King, the women of Paris forced the King to submit to the will of the people. Bread shortages led a group of poor women and some of the armed Sans-Culottes to take the day’s journey to Versailles to demand that the King find bread for the poor. When royal troops tried to stop them from entering the palace, the mob opened fire and killed two of the guards. Members of the National Guard arrived and defused the situation, Lafayette himself convinced the King to return to Paris. He would never visit Versailles again.
The King Embraces The Revolution (Or does he?) Lafayette and the National Guard protected the King, the Queen and the Dauphin on their return to Paris. Lafayette convinced the King to present himself to the people at the Hotel de Ville. Lafayette and the King embraced and the King put on the Red, White and Blue ribbon of the revolution which was derived from the colors of the American Revolution. The King was symbolically accepting what had been done and what would be done to transform France. It appeared as if the revolution had been a success.
Civil Constitution of the Clergy 1791 Even as the issue of Constitutional Monarchy seemed to be resolving itself, a new crisis developed when the radical wing of the Assembly voted in a law controlling the Catholic Church. All clergy are required to swear an oath to the state and act as civil servants. All Church property becomes state property. Refusal to accept is regarded as criminal action. The Pope announces that to accept the law is grounds for excommunication. France and the Church enter into a prolonged struggle. The peasants especially are opposed to this law.
Flight to Varrenes June, 1791 The Queen convinces the King that the Royal family should flee France and seek shelter with her Brother Leopold the Holy Roman Emperor and ruler of Austria. He will help them regain complete control of France. The family slips out of Paris in the middle of the night disguised as members of the middle class. They travel as far as Varrenes near the border with Belgium where they are recognized, detained and returned to Paris under guard. The King is now suspected of treason against his country and the revolution.
Fall of the Monarchy The Royal family was confined to the Tuileries, another of the palaces in Paris. The left wing of the National Assembly began demanding that the King be removed from power, the Monarchy abolished and a Republic proclaimed. The Sans-Culottes supported this and mass protests formed. The National Guard opened fire on one such demonstration and Lafayette’s popularity vanished. Austria and Prussia issued a joint declaration at Pillnitz, demanding that the royal family be released and threatening an invasion if this did not happen. The Assembly in turn threatened war with both countries if they did not back down.
Fall of the Monarchy 1792 In April1792, France declared War on the Austro-Prussian alliance. French Armies invaded the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium) and were promptly defeated. The radicals now pressed for the abolition of the Monarchy and the imprisonment of the King. On August 10, a mob stormed the Tuileries, massacred the troops still loyal to the King and seized the royal family. The Assembly pronounced the dissolution of the Monarchy and imprisonment of the Bourbon family in the Temple, the former headquarters of the Knights Templar.
Rise of the Republic The Assembly next proclaimed the 1 st Constitution invalid and called for the election a new government based on republican principals. As German armies marched on Paris, mobs attacked and murdered hundreds of nobles and clergy in the September Massacres. The King was put on trial, charged with Treason against France and having shed the blood of his own subjects. On January 21, 1793 the King was beheaded on the guillotine. In October, the Queen was executed as well. The Dauphin, vanished.
The Reign of Terror The death of the King led other countries including Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain to declare war on France. The Jacobins, now in control, declared a state of national emergency and ordered the Levee en Masse, the total mobilization of the French people to defend the revolution. In several provinces, peasants revolted against this order and against the Jacobins who had killed the King and suppressed the Church. Committees of Public Safety were formed to deal with enemies internal and external.
Reign of Terror Among the leaders of these committees were Georges Danton Jean Paul Marat Maximilien Robespierre, who was called both “incorruptible” and “a tyrant.” He became the most powerful man in France, determined to establish a “Republic of Virtue.” He also intended to replace every existing institution of France from the calendar, to the religion with something new and rational. And he would execute anyone who opposed anything he proposed. Up to 40,000 people were executed during his reign of terror.
Reign of Terror Ultimately, Robespierre began executing his allies. They in turn had him condemned for Treason and executed in July of With his death, the Reign of Terror ended, although the wars against the 1 st Coalition continued. What was left of the Assembly, now proposed a 3 rd Constitution with a 5 man executive committee called the Directory. They would ensure that no second Robespierre would emerge, instead French would get Napoleon.
Napoleon Bonaparte Born August 15, 1769 on the island of Corsica, to Carlo & Letizia Buonaparte members of the minor Corsican nobility. He was the 2 nd of 8 children. Corsica had been under the control of the Italian city state of Genoa until 1768, when it was turned over to the French Monarchy of Louis XV. The population, which regarded itself as Italian in language, custom and tradition briefly revolted and Carlo was a leader of the rebellion. When he determined that revolt was hopeless he gave his support to the French governor and received a minor office as a result.
Early Years Letizia proved to be the most important influence in her son’s early life. She provided for his early education and constantly emphasized the importance of courage, determination and the will to succeed. In 1778, at the age of 9, she arranged for her son to enter a preparatory school in France. There he was bullied for his small stature and “foreign” accent. His mother responded to his requests to be brought home with letters which encouraged him to grow in the face of adversity. Within a year, his family managed to gain for him an appointment to the Military Academy of Brienne-le- Chateau.
Early Years Napoleon spent five years at Brienne. He excelled at mathematics, was passable in history and received low marks in music, dancing and social skills. He did well in military studies and, even though it was suggested he might “make a very good sailor”, he applied for a received admission to the Ecole Militaire de Paris, France’s most important military training school. He completed a two year program of studies in one year and, in 1785, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the royal artillery. He was 16.
The Revolution In 1785, France was at peace, and Napoleon had no chance to put his military training into practice. He actually spent better than a year and a half back home in Corsica, helping his mother take care of her family after his father died of stomach cancer. When the events surrounding the establishment of the National Assembly occurred in 1789, Napoleon eagerly embraced the calls for revolutionary change. He hoped that Corsica might regain its freedom from France, and resigned his commission to join the newly formed National Guard of Corsica with the rank of lieutenant colonel, at age 20.
The Revolution Despite his appointment, the revolutionary leaders on Corsica did not trust him, because of his father’s betrayal of their earlier rebellion. Eventually, his entire family was forced into exile in France. In France, he joined the Jacobin’s, and re-entered the new Army of the Republic as a major. In December 1793, he commanded artillery which was used to drive occupying British forces out of the port city of Toulon. Napoleon was wounded in the process and was rewarded by promotion to rank of brigadier general at age 24.
The Revolution Napoleon’s bravery and success brought him to the attention of Maximillien Robespierre. The dictator decided to appoint him to the command of all artillery in the army invading Italy. Shortly after issuing the order in 1794, Robespierre was arrested and executed. Napoleon was arrested and charged with treason for being a favorite of the tyrant. After 10 days in prison he was cleared and released. For the next year, he was free but under suspicion and his career seemed to be at a dead end. About the only good news in his life was the beginning of a romance with Josephine Beauharnais.
Josephine de Beauharnais A 32 year old widow and mother of 2 young girls, her wealthy husband had been executed by Robespierre during the Reign of Terror. She was politically well connected but was without money as all of his property had been confiscated by the government. She met Napoleon at a Ball and was attracted to him and to the thought that, as a member of Corsican nobility, he might be wealthy. Napoleon was attracted to her and believed that she had inherited her late husband’s substantial fortune. When each learned the truth about the other, they agreed to marry anyway on March 9, 1796.
The Cannonade October 5, 1795 Under the newly created government of the Directory, an attempt was made to restore a degree of political freedom in an attempt to stabilize the internal conditions of France. Émigrés were allowed to return home. Some promptly began to plan the restoration of the Monarchy. In October, 1795 about 30,000 citizens, incited by the monarchists began to mass in Paris and announced their plan to seize the Assembly by force. The Directory ordered Napoleon to take command of field artillery batteries and stop the attempt. Would a Frenchman open fire on fellow citizens?
The Cannonade Apparently, one born on Corsica would. Napoleon positioned his guns, hub to hub in the main boulevard leading towards the Assembly. As the mob advanced, Napoleon ordered the gunners to open fire. The front ranks were riddled with grape-shot. The remainder broke and ran. Napoleon later claimed that he had simply given them a “whiff of grape-shot.” Napoleon had saved the Republic, he became the hero of the moment. His star was on the rise again.
The Italian Campaign Following the Cannonade, the Directors appointed Napoleon second in command to the Army of the Interior, that is all forces inside France. Some of them were nervous that a man who had turned his guns on one political faction, could turn them against any faction, including the one in power. They decided that Napoleon’s military talents would better, and more safely, be employed in fighting against the Austrians in Northern Italy. Two days after his wedding to Josephine, he left for Italy.
The Italian Campaign The army he was given was poorly equipped and badly lead. Napoleon would soon change all of that. In doing so he gained the absolute faith and loyalty of his soldiers, a characteristic he would retain throughout his career. His men truly loved him. Within a few weeks, he managed to capture the city of Milan and liberate its people for republican rule. In successive battles, he would defeat the forces of Naples, Parma and Modena. Finally, he defeated the Austrians and forced them to sign the Treaty of Campo Formio, effectively ending the 1 st Coalition.
Egyptian Campaign Napoleon’s return to France was an overwhelming triumph. He was adored by the masses and had the undying loyalty of every soldier of the Republic. About the only Parisians not wild about him were the Directors, who now feared his popularity and ability even more than before he had been sent to Italy. How could they control this hero whose popularity increased even as their diminished? Easy, have him attack Great Britain, about the only member of the 1 st Coalition still actively fighting France.
Egyptian Campaign Easier said then done. Napoleon would consider invasions plans for Britain throughout the remainder of his military career. He always arrived at the same conclusion: It could not be done until the French Navy could control the English Channel. At various times, he considered, balloons, tunnels, and submarines but ultimately realized that only a secure water passage to Britain would allow an invasion to succeed. But Britain might be vanquished without being invaded, through Egypt.
Egyptian Campaign By the end of the 18 th century, much of Britain’s wealth was derived from its growing control of India. Much of this wealth was carried across the Indian Ocean, transported by caravan across the Isthmus of Suez, and then shipped over the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and Britain. By seizing control of Egypt, this trade route would be severed. Britain would be bankrupted and would sue for peace. France would be victorious. Even better, Egypt was controlled by the Mameluks, corrupt and weak governors serving the likewise weak Ottoman Empire.
Egyptian Campaign Napoleon organized an Army of 35,000 men, many of them veterans of his Italian campaign. He assembled a fleet of transports and a small squadron of naval escorts. He arranged for a larger French fleet to sail into the Atlantic to draw away the British fleet stationed off the French coast. Napoleon captured the island of Malta from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and pressed on to Egypt. In July, 1798 he landed at Alexandria and marched south along he Nile to the vicinity of Cairo. There in the sight of the Pyramids, he exhorted his men that “40 centuries looked down” on their endeavor. He crushed the Mameluks in the “Battle of the Pyramids.” Egypt was his.
Egyptian Campaign Having conquered Egypt, Napoleon set out to establish French administration. He also employed a corps of historians, architects and artists to begin an intensive study of the wonders of ancient Egypt. He is actually is the Father of Egyptology. One of the discoveries, the Rosetta Stone, allowed hieroglyphics to be deciphered by a French scholar Joseph Champollion. He shipped an obelisk from Egypt and had it emplaced at the site of the guillotine, it is still there.
Egyptian Campaign Unfortunately, there were two opponents Napoleon could not defeat: Admiral Horatio Nelson and mosquito born disease. Admiral Nelson, who had been decoyed into the Atlantic, returned to the Mediterranean and attached Napoleon’s naval forces off the mouth of the Nile River. The “Battle of the Nile” ended in the French fleet being destroyed and dispersed. Napoleon was cut off from resupply from France. Nelson will remain Napoleon’s greatest nemesis for the next 7 years. He will become England’s greatest hero.
Egyptian Campaign The Ottoman Empire declared war on France, they were joined by Russia and Austria. All of them aligned with Britain to form the 2 nd Coalition. Napoleon advanced north from Egypt into Palestine and Syria but was forced back to Egypt when his army began to suffer enormous losses to typhus and malaria, diseases spread by the bite of mosquitoes. His army continued to shrink in numbers and could not be reinforced because of British naval superiority. Austrian forces won victories in Northern Italy and threatened France. An Ottoman Army, with British support, advanced on Egypt.
Egyptian Campaign Napoleon made a brutal tactical decision to abandon his Army of Egypt, withdrawing only his personal staff and contingent of scholars by small boat through the British blockade. His army fought on for 2 more years. Many of the troops he left behind died from disease and mistreatment at the hands of the Turks. Some were held as slaves. Napoleon returned to France expecting to be shot for his failure. Instead he was welcomed as a hero for what he had attempted. His brothers Joseph and Lucien both worked to increase his standing and to attack the reputation of the Directors.
Coup d’ Etat November 9,1799 Napoleon formed an alliance with the original spokesman for the 3 rd Estate, Emmanuel Sieyes. Sieyes wished to replace the Directory with a more powerful, and less corrupt, executive of 3 men, the Consulate. Napoleon surrounded the Assembly Hall with troops. He then entered the hall and called on the members to enact laws bringing about this change. When some of them refused, he withdrew but quickly returned with his soldiers who cleared the hall with bayonets. Later, those who supported him were readmitted and voted the change, appointing Napoleon the First Consul within a year he was the only Consul.
Napoleonic Government Once the consulate was established, Napoleon moved quickly to consolidate his power. Within 2 months, a new constitution was written and submitted to the people for their approval. In this plebiscite, 3.5 million people voted to adopt it, while only 1,500 voted against it. Napoleon would claim nearly unanimous support for his government and for all of his plans. (In reality, over one half of all eligible voters did not vote.) By 1802, Napoleon presented himself as First Consul for Life, and again was overwhelmingly supported by those who bothered to vote.
Napoleonic Government Napoleon created new internal divisions in France, the Departements, which exist to this day. He established a Ministry of the Interior, to supervise these districts through appointed prefects, who, in turn, controlled all local governments and appointed all local officials. Napoleon controlled the entire system, and saw to it that only men loyal to him held office at any level. He reorganized the Assembly, dividing it into 3 houses, non of which had any real power to enact laws or veto his actions. He created a secret police force that became a model for such groups as the Gestapo and the KGB.
Napoleonic Reforms Napoleon shrewdly guessed the people would accept tyranny in return for stability and efficiency of government. He would enact a significant number of reforms including: Abolition of income taxes imposed by the Directory. Welcomed the return of Lafayette to France. Elimination of the revolutionary calendar. Elimination of the annual celebration of Louis XVI’s death. Encouragement of the creation and expansion of small businesses. In addition to these he would enact 4 major and long lasting reforms.
Major Reforms Concordat of 1801: Resolves the split between the Catholic Church and France created in recognized as the majority religion in France. Some church property restored. Pope oversees the appointments of all clergy who remain civil servants. Freedom of all religions guaranteed. National System of Education: To create citizens who are well educated and loyal to the state. A national university will train teachers and supervise the curriculum of primary schools. Lycees, technical high schools, will educate students to work in the arts, crafts, sciences and agriculture. The system will be standardized and open to all students.
Major Reforms Financial Reforms: He sought to reduce the high inflation rate by creating a National Bank to control the flow of currency and establish its uniform value. He promised and delivered a balanced budget, and eliminated the notorious corruption of the Directory. He reformed the tax code to ensure equity for all taxpayers. He reduced internal tariffs to encourage the growth of trade. He ultimately increased the wealth of France by the conquest of new territories and the collection of reparations from defeated enemies.
Major Reforms The Code Napoleon: Perhaps his greatest, and most long lasting achievement. It survives to this day, not only in France, but in countries on every continent where the French played a role in their history. France had thousands of laws, in hundreds of different codes dating as far back and the ancient Gauls and the Roman occupation. They often contradicted each other. Napoleon insisted on one set of laws for both criminal and civil cases should exist throughout France. Both the monarchy and the revolutionaries had attempted this and failed. Napoleon got it done and was directly involved in the process.
Major Reforms Some of the ideas of the Revolution were protected such as freedom of religion and the rights of peasants to purchase land. Some ideas seem counter-revolutionary: Employers are always favored over employees. Children are absolutely subject to the will of their fathers, who could inflict corporal punishment and even imprison them. Women’s rights all but vanished. Daughters are subject to their fathers. Wives are subject to their husbands. “Women should stick to knitting.” There is a presumption of guilt for anyone accused of a crime, the opposite of the Anglo-American premise of innocence until proven guilty.
Major Reforms The Code Napoleon took a decade to complete, it was promulgated in 1810 by the Emperor Napoleon. All Frenchmen were now subject to the same law. As French armies occupied other countries, they carried the code to Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. In latter decades, it became the law of French colonies in Africa and Southeast Asia. During the 1860’s, the French occupied Mexico, and left the Code behind as the basis for Mexican law to this day. Napoleon himself said that his 40 major battlefield victories would be forgotten, but his law would live forever.
Emperor Napoleon I By May,1804, Napoleon had decided that he would complete the consolidation of power. He directed the Senate of the Republic to vote him the office of Emperor. He invited the Pope to attend the coronation, and when his Holiness declined the invitation, he forced him to attend. On December 2, 1804 in Notre Dame Cathedral, Napoleon took the crown and placed it on his own head. He then crowned Josephine as Empress. In 1805, Napoleon informed the Holy Roman Emperor that his 805 year old title no longer existed by order of Napoleon.
Expanding French Empire Even as Napoleon developed his internal control of France and transformed its government, he continued to extend France’s power beyond its borders. In late 1800, he took advantage of Austria’s inclusion in the 2 nd Coalition to plan and launch a major invasion across the Alps into Austrian occupied Northern Italy. Despite being outnumbered, he won an overwhelming victory at Marengo and again Austria sued for peace saw the Army of Egypt defeated finally by Turks and British troops. Britain, feeling less threatened agreed to a peace settlement with France, the Treaty of Amiens signed in It would last less than 2 years.
Haiti & Louisiana During this brief interlude of peace, Napoleon dispatched an Army to the Caribbean to put down the “slave revolt” which had established a “republic” in the French colony of what is now Haiti. As in Egypt, mosquitoes, carrying Yellow Fever, decimated his army and in the end, the French withdrew. Napoleon decided to sell the Louisiana territory, held by France in North America, to the U.S. rather than risk its occupation by Britain when the war between the two resumed. $15 Million dollars in gold purchased 828,000 square miles in He invested the money in naval expansion.
Expanding French Empire Not long after the sale of Louisiana, Britain declared war on France. He again considered an invasion of Britain, but still had no means of crossing the Channel. He formed an Alliance with Spain and hoped that the combined fleets might solve his problem. Meanwhile, Britain was joined by Austria, Russia and Sweden in the 3 rd Coalition. Instead of invading Britain, Napoleon invaded Austria and defeated an Austro-Russian Army at Austerlitz. Both nations withdrew from the Coalition and Austria formed an alliance with France.
Trafalgar October, 1805 Even while his armies were marching into Austria, Napoleon was again to suffer a major defeat at the hands of Horatio Nelson. The Spanish and French Fleets joined together off the west coast of Spain and apparently were preparing to sweep up the English Channel in an attempt to gain control of the passage for an invasion force. Admiral Nelson launched an audacious attack, utilizing new tactics, against them off Cape Trafalgar. He destroyed or captured a majority of their force. Napoleon would never recover sufficient naval power to consider an invasion again. Nelson died during the battle and remains a national hero. The French commander shot himself.
Expanding French Empire Despite his defeat at sea, Napoleon continued to expand his control of the continent. Occupied Holland and made his brother, Louis, king. Named his brother, Joseph, king of Naples Created a German state, Westphalia, for his brother Jerome. Created states in Italy for two of his sisters. Awarded his generals with small states in the newly created Confederation of the Rhine. Declared war on Prussia and defeated their armies at Jena and Auerstadt. Led his Army, in triumph into Berlin.
The Continental System Economic Warfare Victorious on land, but defeated at sea, Napoleon again seeks an economic solution to the problem of Great Britain. He created his Continental System to cut all trade between Great Britain and its European markets. France, the nations it occupied and the nations allied with it would cut all trade with the English. Nations which traded would be attacked. Britain would soon be bankrupt and in the ensuing economic chaos, either a peace treaty would be negotiated or the English population would rise up in revolt and overthrow the government and the monarchy!
British Orders in Council and Blockade Britain’s response was to expand its naval blockade of ports on the continent. All shipping bound for nations supporting Napoleon were subject to boarding, search and seizure if found to be carrying contraband cargo as enumerated in the Orders in Council. This included ships from neutral countries like the United States. President Jefferson, desperate to avoid conflict at sea, passed an Embargo Act prohibiting American ships from sailing to Europe and Britain. An economic depression followed.
Continental System Ultimately, the impact on Great Britain was far less than the impact on the rest of the world, and most especially on France. The British maintained their trade with their own colonies and actually increased trade with the U.S. British goods were smuggled into Europe and sold at higher prices because of the shorter supply. France and the other “partners” found themselves facing shortages and loss of revenues from tariffs no longer collected as the blockade became ever more effective.
Peninsular War Portugal, Britain’s oldest ally and trading partner, had remained out of the system. They traded with the British and sold those goods to all of Europe. Napoleon invaded Portugal and the royal family of Braganza fled to the safety of their colony of Brazil. Napoleon now decided to replace the current monarch of Spain with his brother Joseph. He led forces into Spain and was victorious in every battle against the Spanish army. But having defeated the official forces, he found himself confronting a popular uprising of the masses and a new form of combat—Guerrilla warfare.
Peninsular War The Spanish peasantry rejected the blatant interference of the French in their internal affairs. They held that the new king was a foreigner and an atheist seeking to destroy the God- given system of Spanish monarchy. They took up arms and conducted an ever intensifying asymmetrical war against the French. The French response was to execute all irregular troops they captured and to punish civilian populations randomly when they had no combatants to execute. These same tactics were adopted by the Nazi’s in World War II.
Peninsular War The British mobilized a force of 14,000 regulars, an enormous force by British standards, and sent them to assist the guerrillas, under the command of General Arthur Wellesley. He won a series of hit and run victories. Napoleon was forced to continuously increase the number of troops occupying Spain, eventually he would have 250,000 men fighting there and getting no closer to victory. He came to call Spain “his ulcer.” France’s increasing problems in Spain, led other nations to take advantage of the situation.
The Second Empress Napoleon Marie Louise In 1809, Austria tested the waters and withdrew from its alliance with France. Napoleon promptly defeated them. To solidify the “renewed” alliance, he proposed to marry the 18 year old daughter of the Emperor of Austria, the princess Marie Louise. Josephine had failed the only expectation that Napoleon had of her, to bear a son and heir. He divorced her in December 1809 and demanded that the Bishop of Paris grant an annulment as well. In March, 1810, Napoleon married her 3 times, first by proxy and then in person in both civil and religious ceremonies!
Napoleon II The King of Rome In May, 1811, Marie Louise gave birth to a son. Napoleon now had an heir to inherit his empire. As a gift to the newly arrived Prince Imperial, Napoleon conferred on him the additional title and holdings of: King of Rome. Marie Louise achieved great popularity with the people of France for delivering Napoleon II. Napoleon was delighted with both his son and his young wife. Napoleon continued to send letters to Josephine always beginning: “My Love.”
Russian Campaign 1812 Russia was one of the nations defeated by Napoleon and forced into the Continental System. Its economy had suffered as a result. The Russian Tsar, Alexander I, was also disturbed by the marriage of Napoleon to Marie Louise of Austria, which he feared might be prelude to a joint attack against Russia. In 1812, the Tsar openly defied Napoleon by re-establishing trade with Britain. He also mobilized an Army of 240,000 men to defend against the attack he knew must follow. He doubted that his army could defeat Napoleon but he believed that the size of his territory just might.
Russian Campaign 1812 Napoleon could not afford to ignore the actions of the Tsar. He realized that if Russia abandoned the system, every other member would be tempted to do so. He also was confronted by the failure of his armies to hold Spain and Portugal from the guerrilla forces backed by army of the British under Arthur Wellesley. He needed a decisive victory, so he mobilized the largest force ever fielded by France, 650,000 men, and took command himself. This Grand Armee, included Dutch, Italian, German, Austrian, Polish and Swiss troops as well as French forces.
Russian Campaign The Advance June 24, 1812, Napoleon crosses the Russian frontier. The Russian army under Marshall Kutuzov does not contest the invasion and begins a constant retreat as Napoleon led his army toward Moscow. As his army advanced his supply line grew longer and he was forced to leave men to protect it. Kutuzov ordered his men to destroy everything of value as they retreated: towns, farms, fields, even wells were polluted with the carcasses of farm animals slaughtered for the purpose. This “scorched earth” strategy denied Napoleon of supplies and shelter as he advanced.
Russian Campaign The Advance Having abandoned thousands of square miles of territory to the French, the Tsar ordered Kutuzov to take a stand 70 miles west of Moscow. At Borodino the Russian army was defeated, as its commander had predicted, but remained intact and continued to retreat, to, through and beyond Moscow. On September 15, the French entered the city and began to loot it. By that night, the city was in flames. Two thirds of the city was destroyed. Each side blamed the other for fire. By October 8 th the Tsar had refused all offers to negotiate a settlement and Napoleon began a retreat as the 1 st snow fell.
Russian Campaign The Retreat Napoleon’s Grand Armee formed a column 60 miles long. It marched through the lands devastated by the scorched earth policy. Temperatures dropped into the sub-zero range and snow drifted as high as a man. The Russian army pursued the retreating French. They attacked from the rear and on the flanks, but never allowed a full battle to develop. Their hit and run tactics wore down the French without the loss of Russian life. Napoleon marched along side his men to boost their morale but men died from cold, disease, starvation, and Russian snipers. By the time he crossed back into Poland he had less than 50,000 men. He had been beaten by “General Winter.”
The Battle of the Nations Leipzig Napoleon scrambled to construct a new army even as his former allies turned against him and again joined the British led coalition. He ordered the abandonment of Spain and Portugal to provide reinforcements. New drafts of troops were raised in France. Having won more battles against the pursuing Russians and vengeful Prussians, he managed to gain a brief truce. But ultimately, virtually all of his former allies sent forces to confront his army at Leipzig, in southeastern Germany. 320,000 coalition forces attacked 160,000 French troops commanded by Napoleon. For two days he outfought them, on the third day, they overwhelmed him. His 1 st defeat.
Collapse of the Empire Napoleon escaped from the field of Leipzig and moved west. He continued to attempt to block the armies in Germany. Rebellions took place in Holland and Italy. Wellesley, now raised to the title of Duke of Wellington, invaded France from Spain. The various German states united in war against France and were joined by the Russian Army of Kutuzov. The coalition forces declared they sought not war with France but the overthrow of Napoleon. They invaded France from the East. Even members of the French legislature now began to question the wisdom of supporting Napoleon.
Elba By March, 1814, the coalition armies reached the outskirts of Paris. Napoleon decided that he would not fight a battle which would lead to the destruction of the city. On April 11, Napoleon abdicated his title of Emperor. The Coalition decided that he would be exiled for life to the 86 square mile island of Elba off the northwest Coast of Italy. He would be granted the title of King and the French would pay him an annual pension. His wife and son would not be allowed to join him. The Bourbon’s were restored under Louis XVIII.
The Hundred Days March 1-July 18, 1815 Louis XVIII quickly became unpopular. He was not Napoleon. The economy stagnated. The church demanded the return of all lands which would mean confiscation of lands redistributed to the peasants. Veteran’s longed for their exiled hero. Revolutionaries longed for the restoration of a republic. Napoleon longed to escape from the exile of Elba and rejoin his family in Paris. Josephine had died of “a broken heart” during the exile.
The Hundred Days Napoleon decided that he might be able to pull off a return to power. On March 1, 1815 he sailed from Elba and landed on the Mediterranean coast near Cannes, with an army of 1100 men, who had followed him into exile. He led his army on a circuitous route through France, recruiting veterans along the way. King Louis dispatched a force led by a general to arrest Napoleon. At Grenoble he confronted the troops alone: “I am your Emperor, kill me or follow me!” Vive Le Emperor!
The Hundred Days When the King sent a larger force under Marshall Ney, his military commander in chief, Ney, who served under Napoleon declared that he would bring him to Paris in a cage but instead joined his cause. King Louis abandoned Paris, and on March 20 Napoleon entered the city to the ringing of church bells. He had regained power without a shot being fired. Leaders of the Coalition, meeting in Vienna to resolve the fate of post Napoleonic Europe, found that they now were facing their worst nightmare– Napoleon himself. They moved 200,000 troops into Belgium to attack France. They planned to mobilize even more troops in Germany.
The Hundred Days Napoleon proclaimed that he was now Emperor of the French and called for the creation of a army of 120,000 men to attack the allied force in Belgium. He would take the field himself, one last time. Napoleon marched north into Belgium and confronted the armies of Marshall Blucher of Prussia and Britain’s Duke of Wellington. On June 16, he successfully attacked the Prussians and forced them to retreat. On June 18, he launched a fierce attack against Wellington at a village called Waterloo.
Waterloo June 18, 1815 At Waterloo, Napoleon apparently had the upper hand, early in the fight. Wellington’s army was badly mauled but gave no ground. Late in the day, when it appeared that Napoleon would win, the army of Blucher attacked from the flank and Napoleon was defeated. His Imperial Guard made a brave last stand to cover his escape and he fled the battlefield in a carriage. He returned to Paris and abdicated in favor of his son. Marshall Ney was captured and shot for treason. On July 15 Napoleon surrendered to the captain of a British warship and was taken to England.
St. Helena The British considered shooting him, but feared that it would incite more violence in France. They decided, with the other partners in the coalition to impose another, permanent and remote exile on Prisoner Napoleon. He was transported to the volcanic island of St. Helena, 700 miles off the coast of Africa in the South Atlantic. He was allowed 50 companions who would share his exile. He was guarded by a regiment of British infantry and the British navy maintained a naval patrol off the island to prevent his escape or rescue. He remained there until his death in 1821.
Afterward Napoleon was buried on the island of St. Helena. The British refused all requests from his family that he be transported to France for re-burial. He was regarded as dangerous even while he was dead. His wife and son spent their remaining years in the Imperial palace in Vienna. Napoleon II died of tuberculosis at age 21. He never reigned as Emperor of France or even as King of Rome. In 1840, the royal government of France gained permission to move Napoleon to Paris. He is buried in a marble sarcophagus 2 stories tall. It was France’s greatest attraction until the Eiffel tower was built. In 1940, Hitler paid his respects.
The Congress of Vienna Following Napoleon’s first abdication in 1814, the leaders of the Coalition met in Vienna to decide the future course of European history. Prince Klemens von Metternich, the foreign minister of Austria, emerged as the dominant voice in the proceedings. He was determined to restore peace and stability to Europe and to solidify the importance of the Austrian Empire. He believed that if they were successful Europe would enjoy at least a century of peace.
Concert of Europe If all the nations of Europe, including the Bourbon kingdom of France, would work together, like the various instruments in an orchestra, they could produce a beautiful harmony that everyone would enjoy. The four greatest powers, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria, called the Quadruple Alliance, would guarantee the security of all the rest. Tsar Alexander, not to be outdone proposed a “Holy Alliance” of Christian monarchs to restore order throughout the world, including the America’s. It never accomplished anything except the Monroe Doctrine of the U.S.