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Napoleon, part 1

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18th and 19th Century Europe

18th and 19th Century Europe


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  • 1. “…the Revolution, like Saturn, devouring successively all her children, will produce at last a despotism with the calamities that accompany it....” -Pierre Vergniaud (Girondin 1793)
  • 2. The French Revolution, Part 3: Rise of Napoleon to 1804
  • 3. Personal Background • Born Napoleon Bonaparte in Corsica, 1769, soon after France conquered the island • Father, Carlo, was an ambitious aristocrat & member of parliament • Sent Napoleon to school in Paris on scholarship
  • 4. Young Napoleon • At 15, Napoleon promoted to Royal Military Academy • At 16, trained with best artillery unit in French army • In 1789, Revolution began • At age 20, Napoleon was stationed far from Paris – saw revolutionary changes as a chance for personal gain
  • 5. Rising Through the Ranks • 1792—when France became a republic, returned to Corsica with intent of rising to power; fails & banished • 1793-94—during Reign of Terror, as other nations try to attack France, he drives British from ToulonNapoleon at Toulon, 1793
  • 6. Becomes Full General • In 1795, after fall of Robespierre’s govt., he is promoted to full general when he used cannons on crowds in Paris to stop a royalist, pro-monarchy rebellion • Seen as “hero” of the revolution by masses
  • 7. Napoleon Marries Josephine • Wed Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796, seen as marriage of convenience • After marriage, he was given command of the army in Italy
  • 8. Napoleon’s Rise to Power • 1796-7—wins victories vs. Austria • 1798—colorful expedition to Egypt; loses to British • 1799—overthrows Directory & sets up 3-man government known as Consulate • 1800—names himself “first Consul,” then “Consul for Life”
  • 9. Napoleon Crowns Self Emperor
  • 10. Emperor Napoleon I • After crowning self emperor, he held a plebiscite (vote) and majority of French supported him • Policies of “order, security, efficiency” replaced “liberty, equality, fraternity”
  • 11. Reforms Under Napoleon • Economic—controlled prices, encouraged new industry, built roads/canals; jobs open to “all talent” • Social—made peace with Catholic Church by allowing religious freedom • Legal—”Napoleonic Code” embodied justice/equality
  • 12. Summary • Napoleon was the ultimate “Enlightened despot,” who pushed the ideals of the Enlightenment of liberty & equality while assuming complete authority in the name of order & security • His ambitions, left unchecked, would spell his downfall as he overextended his power

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