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The French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon


The French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon
17891789-1815

Social Structure of the Old Regime
The First Estate
The clergy Constituted about 130,000 people and cont

rolled 10% of the land

The Second Estate
The nobility Comprised of nearly 350,000 people and controlled about 25 to 30 percent of the land

Homogenous entities or not?

The Third Estate
Constituted everyone else in French society Peasants which comprised nearly 75 to 80 percent of French society and held 35 to 40 percent of the land Another segment of the Third Estate were the skilled artisans, shopkeepers and other city wage earners Last group was the bourgeoisie, or middle class, which comprised 8% of the population Historiography: Conflict between the estates or between the old & new in each?

Other Problems Facing the French Monarchy
Economic difficulties
Bad harvests in 1787 & 1788 Manufacturing depression

Privileges
The Parlements/Nobility and the “arbitrary” power of the monarchy Example: Taxation

Finances
Immediate cause of the French Revolution Increased expenditures covered by too much borrowing

Beginnings of the Revolution: Calling of the Estates-General EstatesSummoned by Louis XVI, it first met on 5 May 1789 In the elections, it was decided that the Third Estate would get double the representation of the First & Second (300 vs. 600) Voting by Order or Head
The First & Second Estates wanted to vote by order instead of by head Members of the Third Estate argued that voting should be done by head, which would then give them control

Disagreement creates leadership vacuum

Formation of the National Assembly
The Third Estate fills the leadership vacuum and declares themselves the National Assembly (17 June 1789) The Tennis Court Oath (20 June 1789)

Common People Intervene
Since the Third Estate had no right to act as a National Assembly, the King, with the support of the First Estate threatened to dissolve the EstatesEstates-General The Third Estate was saved by a series of risings on the part of the common people
Storming of the Bastille on July 14 Peasant uprisings and panics in the countryside also created difficulties for the government

Destruction of the Old Regime
First Step: 4 August 1789 the National Assembly votes to abolish seigneurial rights as well as the fiscal privileges of the nobles, clergy, towns, and provinces Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
Issued August 26 Began with a ringing affirmation of “the natural and imprescriptible rights of man” to “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression” It affirmed the destruction of the aristocratic privileges by proclaiming an end to exemptions from taxations, freedom & equal rights for all men, and access to public office based on talent The monarchy was restricted and all citizens had the right to participate in the legislative process as well as freedom of speech and the press

The Women's March
Meanwhile, Louis remained inactive at Versailles refusing to acknowledge the decrees passed by the National Assembly March of the common people on Versailles (October 5) Louis and the Royal family return to Paris

New Constitution
By 1791, the National Assembly had completed a constitution establishing a constitutional monarchy Sovereign power rested in the new Legislative Assembly
Was to sit for two years Comprised 745 representative elected by indirect vote

The National Assembly additionally restructured France as the old provinces were replaced by 83 departments Civil Constitution of the Clergy (April 1790)

Growing Opposition
However, opposition was forming against the new government The clerics were angered by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy The Flight to Varennes
June of 1791 Louis tried to flee France Unfortunately, he was recognized and returned to Paris

There was still support for a monarchy, but Louis’s flight undermined both him and the moderates in the new Legislative Assembly

Opposition from Abroad
France’s neighbors began to fear the events occurring in France - Declaration of Pillnitz (27 August 1791) Action was not taken, but that was made mute by France declaring war upon Austria in April of 1792 Why war?
Reactionaries thought preoccupation with war would cool the revolution The left hoped to consolidate the revolution at home and spread it abroad

Path to Radical Revolution
France does badly in the beginning battles and loud recriminations are heard in Paris Radical Parisian political groups organize a mob attack upon the king and the Assembly in August Suspension of the Monarchy and call for a National Convention Rise of the Paris Commune and the sanssansculottes, who now initiate the radical phase of the French Revolution

Radical Revolution
Proclamation of a Republic
National Convention opens sessions in September 1792; composition similar to its predecessors, but young and experienced politically Also distrustful of the king and his activities September 21st - abolish the monarchy and establish a republic

Execution of Louis XVI
The Girondins (The Plain) and the Jacobins (Mountain) The Mountain gained ascendancy and passed a decree in the beginning of 1793 condemning Louis XVI to death, which was done on 21 January 1793

Crises Domestic and Foreign
Factional conflicts between the Girondins and the Mountain intensify The Paris Commune becomes more radical and in June of 1793 organizes a demonstration and invades the National Convention The Mountain is now firmly in control, but rebellions in the Vendee and Lyons & Marseilles show the National Convention is not firmly in control of France

Crises Domestic and Foreign
In the foreign arena, an informal coalition of Austria, Prussia, Portugal, Britain, and the Dutch array themselves against France; the war goes badly for France and the NC Formation of the Committee of Public Safety protect France against her enemies foreign and domestic A Nation in Arms – CPS issues on 23 August 1793 a proclamation calling on a levee en masse, a universal mobilization of the nation

Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror
To combat the domestic crisis, the CPS instituted the “Reign of Terror” Formation of Revolutionary courts throughout France Victims of the Terror
Included Marie Antoinette to former Girondins, noblemen and peasants alike Anyone who opposed the radical activities of the sanssansculottes was suspect

Over the nine months of the terror, officially around 16,000 people were killed by the guillotine though historians believe there were probably closer to 50,000 victims

The Reign of Terror: Why the bloodletting?
The Committee of Public Safety believed that it was only an expedient during the emergency Additionally, they believed their actions were correct because they were acting through the general will of the people The twelve men who composed the CPS had taken upon themselves the right to ascertain the sovereign will of the French people and kill their enemies because they challenged that will

“Republic of Virtue” and Dechristianization
In addition to the Terror, the CPS took other steps to both control France and create a new republican order and republican citizens “Representatives on mission” Policy of dechristianization Furthering this policy was the adoption of a new republican calendar
Years numbered from the birth of the Republic 12 months with 3 ten day weeks Months were renamed reflecting the seasons, the temperature and the state of vegetation The new calendar faced intense popular opposition and was not fully enforced

Decline and Fall of the Committee of Public Safety
The CPS centralized power further by Law of 14 Frimaire, curbing the excesses of the Terror Neutering of the Paris Commune Terror continues under Maximilien Robespierre – means of purifying the body politic of all that was corrupt Fall of Robespierre (28 July 1794) Brought an end the radical phase of the French Revolution

Thermidorean Reaction and the Directory
With the death of Robespierre, the National Convention acted to curtail the power of the CPS and lessen the controls on the economy and society New constitution was proclaimed in 1795
Created a national legislative assembly of two houses – Council of 500 and Council of Elders (Upper house) The Council of Elders would elect five directors to serve as the executive

Thermidorean Reaction and the Directory
Controversy with the new elections Uprising in Paris and the “Whiff of grapeshot” The Directory
Known for its corruption and graft, a materialistic reaction to the suffering during the Reign of Terror Additionally, the Directory had to deal with enemies on both sides, heavily relying upon the army to protect itself

The Directory’s weakness allowed for a certain general to position himself to take over the reigns of power, resulting in the coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire

Early Life of Napoleon
Born in 1769 in Corsica - part of the petty nobility of Corsica Military school and commission as a lieutenant of artillery in 1785 For the next 7 years, Napoleon spent most of his time reading the works of the Philosophes and educating himself in military matters Life was changed by the French Revolution
In 1792, was promoted to captain and through his actions at Marseilles the following year was appointed Brigadier General in 1794 1795 he saved the Directory from the Paris mob Appointment in 1796 as commander of the Army of Italy

The Army of Italy
1796 – appointed as commander of the ragtag Army of Italy at the age of 27 In a short period, Napoleon was able to turn his illillfed, demoralized and undisciplined army into an effective fighting force In a series of campaigns resulting in some of his most famous victories – Lodi, May 1796; Arcola, November 1796 and Rivoli, January 1797 - Napoleon is able to defeat the Austrians in northern Italy and dictate peace As a result, Napoleon becomes the man of the moment in France

The Invasion of Egypt
With his popularity, when Napoleon returns to France he is given command of an army preparing for the invasion of England, but Napoleon has other plans He decides to launch an invasion of Egypt as a means to striking indirectly at the British through India Napoleon sails for Egypt in 1798 and conquers most of it in a series of battles The Battle of the Nile and Napoleon’s isolation In 1799, Napoleon abandons his army and returns to France

Consul (1799-1804) (1799Coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire
Napoleon, fresh from Egypt takes the lead in the coup which overthrows the Directory 30 years old at the time

Consular Government
A new republic is proclaimed with a constitution that established a bicameral legislative assembly elected indirectly Executive power was vested in the hands of three consuls, but real power rested with the First Consul, i.e., Napoleon

War in Italy
Austria again declares war on France (War of the Second Coalition), with the main theater being Italy Napoleon leads an army over the Alps and through a series of famous campaigns, Napoleon is again victorious
Marengo (14 June 1800)

Austria makes peace as well as England in 1801

Emperor (1804-1815) (1804In December of 1804, Napoleon proclaims himself Emperor of the French in a splendid ceremony at Notre Dame, creating the First Empire which would last until 1815 The upstart Corsican is now master of all of France

Domestic Policies: Concordat with the Church
In 1801, Napoleon made peace with the Catholic Church, which had been an intractable enemy of the Revolution Concordat of 1801
Catholicism was recognized as the religion of the majority of the French people; pope could dispose bishops, but the state was still allowed to appoint them; clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, were to be paid by the state, but their was no “state religion”; also, church lands were not restored

The result was the Catholic Church recognizing the accomplishments of the Revolution and the Church was no longer an enemy of France

Domestic Policies: Code Napoleon
Need for a uniform legal system Seven codes were formed, of which the most famous was the Civil Code, or the Code Napoleon
Recognized the principle of equality of all citizens before the law, the right of individuals to chose their profession, religious toleration, and the abolition of serfdom and feudalism as well as the careful protection of property rights The Code clearly reflected the revolutionary aspirations for a uniform legal system, legal equality, and protection of property and individuals

However, some rights were curtailed, such as women’s rights to divorce, property, and liberty

Domestic Policies: The Bureaucracy
Napoleon also rationalized the bureaucracy by developing a powerful centralized administrative machine Retention of the Departments Taxation was now made more systematic and efficient
Professional tax collectors employed by the state No exceptions were allowed

Napoleon also insisted upon a bureaucracy of capable officials
Expertise, not birth was preferred However, Napoleon also created a new nobility based upon merit and state service

Napoleon’s Empire
France proper: France to the Rhine river, northern Italy and Rome Dependent States: Spain, the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Italy, the Swiss Republic, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and the Confederation of the Rhine Allied States: these were the states that Napoleon defeated and forced to ally themselves with France; Prussia, Austria, and Russia

Obedience and Liberties
Napoleon saw himself as the head of all of Europe and he was not hesitate to install or replace monarchs at will Therefore, Napoleon required obedience from all his dependents, especially against the British Napoleon also spread throughout Europe the Enlightened ideas that formed the core of the ideals of the Revolution and, to an extent, the Enlightenment Hand in hand with those goals was the destruction of the Old Order and its replacement by Napoleon’s new order

Europe's Reaction and British Nationalism
Not all countries welcome Napoleon and his ideals, especially the British Since he could not directly attack England, Napoleon used indirect means - The Continental System
The Berlin and Milan Decrees (1806 & 1807) Denied British goods from Europe

The other factor that brought down Napoleon was Nationalism
Awakened during the Revolution in the France, it also arose in the other nations of Europe in response to the actions of Napoleon and the French The best example of this were the Spanish and the Germans in 1813

Napoleon’s Military System
One of the “Great Captains” in military history He was a synthesizer, not an innovator His was also a practical rather than a theoretical genius Moreover, Napoleon really had no set system, but general ideas Placed great emphasis upon speed and mobility What allowed Napoleon that great speed and mobility was his armies living off the countryside, a complete contrast to the close contacts armies of the 18th century had with their magazines

Napoleon’s Military System
His favorite strategic movement was the advance of envelopment (la manoeuvre sur les derrières)
Used it 30 times from 1796 to 1815, of which the finest examples are the crossing of the Alps in the Marengo campaign of 1800 and the advance from the Rhine to the Danube during the opening phase of the Campaign of 1805

The corps de armée

War of The Third Coalition
In 1803, war was again resumed with Britain The encampment at Boulogne Crossing the English Channel and the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) Meanwhile, Austria declares war on France and Napoleon breaks camp and marches the newly christened Grande Armée into Germany to confront the Austrians Major Battles
Ulm (17 October 1805) Austerlitz (2 December 1805)

War with Prussia
In 1806, Prussia finally decides to declare war on France after various incidents involving Hanover and violations of Prussian territory Victory at Jena-Auerst?dt (14 October 1806) JenaHowever, the war does not end as the few remaining Prussians join with their Russian allies Two more battles are fought – Eylau and Friedland in February and June of 1807 The Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807

The Spanish Ulcer
1808: Napoleon deposes the Spanish monarch and installs his brother Joseph as king The Spanish populace reject this and rebel against French rule The British seize this opening and dispatch an army, eventually led by the Duke of Wellington, to Portugal and Spain For the next six years trying to maintain control over Spain and fighting the British would drain French resources, thus gaining its nickname of “The Spanish Ulcer”

Campaign against Austria, 1809
In 1809, a pro-war party gains ascendancy in proAustria and they again declare war on France Napoleon reconstitutes the Grand Army and launches a campaign against Austria At the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon Aspernreceives his first setback and the Austrians gain a small victory However, at Wagram (5-6 July 1809) (5Napoleon is able to defeat the Austrians and they are forced to sue for peace

The Russian Fiasco
In 1812, Russia’s refusal to properly enforce the Continental System forced Napoleon to launch an invasion of Russia The Russians withdrew into the depths of Russia avoiding battle with Napoleon Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812) and Moscow Retreat of the Grande Armée By December, the remnants of the Grande Armée reached the safety of Poland and East Prussia Of the 614,000 who went into Russia, only 60,000 remained

Germany, 1813
With their victory over the French, the Russians continue their advance westward into central Europe, gaining the support of Prussia and then Austria toward the summer of 1813 Napoleon reconstitutes the Grande Armée to counter the advance of the allies The 1813 campaign for Germany or the War of Liberation
The most important battle of this campaign was the Battle of Leipzig (16-19 October 1813), also known as the “Battle of (16the Nations” This major defeat, plus others force the French to retreat back to France

France, 1814
In 1814, the allies invade France proper and during a series of battles and maneuvers, many of which are considered Napoleon’s finest, Napoleon is able to hold off the Allies However, allied numbers and French exhaustion force Napoleon to abdicate in April

Elba, Waterloo, and St. Helena
Restoration of the Bourbons, Exile and the Congress of Vienna Napoleon at Elba Return to France, 1815 The Allied powers declare him an outlaw and plan for an invasion of France Napoleon, with a new army, moves north into Belgium to engage the British and Prussian armies stationed there

The Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815)
Fought between Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington Completely underestimating the British, it is not one of Napoleon’s best efforts and he is let down by lapses in his own judgment and that of his primary subordinates Defeat of the Imperial Guard French retreat and disorder Napoleon again abdicates Exile to the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic Napoleon would remain there until his death in May of 1821


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