Napoleon Napoleon is a very contradictory historical character. On the one hand he had been a Jacobin supporter and he always said that he backed the Revolution and that he wanted to support it. In this sense he granted some important rights to the French citizens, such as: Napoleonic code A system of secular education. Freedom of religion Bank of France A strong central administration. On the other hand he made a coup d’état that was the end of the Directory, later he was proclaimed emperor, he applied a very strict censorship against freedom of speech and freedom of press. In conclusion he behaved as an absolute monarch. He was the youngest general of Europe He was also a very intelligent diplomatand gave to France the important andlegendary victories: and controlled almost all Europe. Some - Austerlitz (against Austria and Russia territories were controlled directly, others in 1805). with puppet monarchs (kings that rule - Jena (against Prussia in 1806). following instructions of someone else)But he also suffered important defeats: and other countries such as Austria and - Spanish Campaign (1808). Russia signed international treaties with Tremendous weakening Napoleon. - Campaign of Russia (450.000 soldiers died) in 1812. - Final defeat of Waterloo in 1815. Direct possessions: The Netherlands, Belgium, some States of Germany and parts of Italy. Indirect possessions (with puppet monarchs): Spain, Sweden, Duchy of Warsaw. Allied States (that had signed an international treaty with Napoleon): Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia, Prussia, Norway, Denmark.
All his government can be divided in two main periods: - Consulate (1799-1804) - Empire (1804-1814) During this last period he achieved his greatest popularity, territorial extension, international power, military victories and control of France. During this period he was also concerned of creating a dynasty and as Josephine Bonaparte could not give him an heir he divorced her and married to Marie Louise of Austria, confirming and international alliance with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This period is also the beginning of his decadence as he started to suffer his first defeats. The invasion of Spain was not as easy as he expected and this campaign was an important weakening (1808). The Campaign of Russia (1812) was a complete failure and Napoleon had to abandon his troops and go to France in order to suffocate an attempt of coup d’état. In 1813 he was finally defeated by an international alliance of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Sweden. France was occupied by the allies and Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea.The Hundred Days But this was not the definitive end of Napoleon. He managed to flee from the island ofElba and get the coasts of France. In France he defeated again the allies and established theEmpire of the Hundred Days. The definitive end of Napoleon was in the battle of Waterloo, in 1815. In this battleUnited Kingdom, The Netherlands, Prussia, Hannover, Nassau and Brunswick finallydefeated Napoleon. He was exiled to the island of Saint Helena, located in the South Atlantic Ocean. He willnever come back from that island and he will die there in 1821, because of a stomach ulcer. The legacy of Napoleon for Europe and France As he controlled all Europe his armies spread the ideas of the French Revolution all over Europe. As a reaction against the French invasion (parts of Italy, different States of Germany, Belgium and Poland...), the people that lived in these areas started to cultivate a new ideology: Nationalism. People from Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Poland… are going to be willing to be Nations, with Parliaments and Constitutions that represent the interests and concerns of their population. In France, the main legacy is that the inheritance of the French Revolution is completely confirmed and although the Bourbons are going to come back and they will try to install the Ancient Regime, this won’t be possible and they will be stopped by the people of France.