Chapter 3: The French Revolution and Napoleon
Section 4: The Age of Napoleon – Part 1
Ambitious, devastate, loot, expedition, coronation, plebiscite, policy, talent, authority, anticipate, annex, nationalism, liberal.
Interpret this statement from Napoleon
Napoleon favored the Jacobins and republican rule. However, he found the conflicting ideas and personalities of the French Revolution confusing. He wrote to his brother in 1793: “Since one must take sides, one might as well choose the side that is victorious, the side which devastates, loots, and burns. Considering the alternative, it is better to eat than be eaten.”
Napoleon’s Rise to Power
In December 1793, he drove British forces out of the French port of Toulon (too lohn). He then went on to win several victories against the Austrians, capturing most of northern Italy and forcing the Hapsburg emperor to make peace.
Hoping to disrupt British trade with India, he led an expedition to Egypt in 1798. The Egyptian campaign was a disaster, but Napoleon hid stories of the losses from his admirers in France. It was done through a network of spies and censoring the press.
By 1799, he helped overthrow the weak Directory and set up a three-man governing board known as the Consulate. Another constitution was drawn up, but Napoleon soon took the title First Consul.
In 1802, he had himself named consul for life.
In 1804, Napoleon assumed the title Emperor of the French. He invited the pope to preside over his coronation in Paris.
1. What was the significance in Napoleon’s action when he took the crown from the Pope’s hands and placed it on his own head?
By this action, Napoleon meant to show that he owed his throne to no one but himself.
2. Even though Napoleon had absolute power, why did he still hold plebscite?
It was basically done to show that people had a say in government through their votes, even though Napoleon still held absolute power. This is sometimes called democratic despotism.
3. What was the slogan of the Napoleon regime?
Napoleon consolidated his power by strengthening the central government. “Order, security, and efficiency” was the slogans of the new regime.
4. What did Napoleon do to improve the economy of France?
To restore economic prosperity, Napoleon controlled prices, encouraged new industry, and built roads and canals. He set up a system of public schools under strict government control to ensure well-trained officials and military officers.
5. List the reforms made and undone by the Napoleonic Code.
The Napoleonic Code embraced Enlightenment principles such as the equality of all citizens before the law, religious toleration, and the abolition of feudalism.
But the Napoleonic Code undid some reforms of the French Revolution. Women, for example, lost most of their newly gained rights and could not exercise the rights of citizenship.
1. Which French countries were annexed into the French Empire under the reign of Napoleon?
Napoleon annexed, or incorporated into his empire, the Netherlands, Belgium, and parts of Italy and Germany.
2. What did France do to weaken Britain? How did Britain respond?
France waged economic warfare through the Continental System, which closed European ports to British goods. Britain responded with its own blockade of European ports. A blockade involves shutting off ports to keep people or supplies from moving in or out.
In the end, Napoleon’s Continental System failed to bring Britain to its knees. Although British exports declined, Britain’s powerful navy kept vital trade routes open to the Americas and India. Meanwhile, trade restrictions created a scarcity of goods in Europe, sent prices soaring, and intensified resentment against French power.
3. What tactic did the Spaniards use against Napoleon’s army?
Spanish patriots conducted a campaign of guerrilla warfare, or hit-and-run raids, against the French. They ambushed French supply trains or troops before retreating into the countryside. These attacks kept large numbers of French soldiers tied down in Spain when Napoleon needed them elsewhere.
4. What is the scorched-earth policy?
To avoid battles with Napoleon, the Russians retreated eastward, burning crops and villages as they went. This scorched-earth policy left the French hungry and cold as winter came.
5. Why was Napoleon unsuccessful with the invasion of Russia in 1812?
French general Michel Ney sadly concluded: “General Famine and General Winter, rather than Russian bullets, have conquered the Grand Army.”
Basically, it was the cold weather and the lack of supplies and food that defeated Napoleon’s troops.
6. What happened to France after the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813?
Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia exiled Napoleon to Elba, an island in the Mediterranean. They then recognized Louis XVIII, brother of Louis XVI, as king of France.
7. Describe Napoleon’s impact on Europe.
France became a centralized state with a constitution.
Elections were held with expanded, though limited, suffrage.
Many more citizens had rights to property and access to education than under the old regime.
Napoleon’s conquests spread the ideas of the revolution.
He sparked nationalist feelings across Europe. The abolition of the Holy Roman Empire would eventually help in creating a new Germany.
8. Who were the leaders that were present at the Congress of Vienna?
Emperor Francis I of Austria.
Prince Clemens von Metternich of Austria
Tsar (Czar) Alexander I of Russia
Lord Robert Castlereagh of Britain.
Defeated France was represented by Prince Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
9. Explain the chief goals of the Congress of Vienna.
To create a lasting peace by establishing a balance of power and protecting the system of monarchy.
10. Describe the outcome of the Congress of Vienna.
The Congress changed the map of Europe. To contain French ambitions, they surrounded France with strong countries. In the north, they added Belgium and Luxembourg to Holland to create the kingdom of the Netherlands.
To prevent French expansion eastward, they gave Prussia lands along the Rhine River. They also allowed Austria to reassert control over northern Italy.
The Congress of Vienna also promoted the principle of legitimacy, restoring hereditary monarchies that the French Revolution or Napoleon had abolished. Even before the Congress began, they had put Louis XVIII on the French throne. Later, they restored “legitimate” monarchs in Portugal, Spain, and the Italian states.