End of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s world.
The chaos• The French Revolution was tainted by a period known as the ‘Reign of Terror’, in which the French revolutionaries, under the command of Robespierre, engaged in a paranoid hunt for those who would attempt to dismantle the new nation .• During this period, many died by the guillotine.
• Ironically, Robespierre himself would end up in the guillotine. In 1794, the National Convention (The new revolutionary government) arrested and executed Robespierre.
• In 1795, the National Convention drafted a new constitution, which removed ‘Universal Manhood Suffrage’ (the right for all males, rich or poor, to vote). Now only male landowners could vote.• Effectively, the French revolution degenerated into the very thing the revolutionaries fought against.
• The New constitution created a new executive branch of government, called ‘The Directory’.• This Directory was made of 5 directors, each of which ended being in a constant power struggle against the others.• Under the directory, the economic situation of France became even worse.
Napoleon Bonaparte• Born in 1769, in the island of Corsica.• He attended military school.• This 5’2 young soldier was full of ambition and skill, and would eventually dominate the European world.
• Napoleon is considered one of the greatest generals in history.• One of his greatest skills was the ability to quickly move troops in the battlefield and to mass forces at critical points.
• Napoleon defeated the Austrians four times, forced them to sign away all of northern Italy in their surrender and forced the Sardinians into a peace treaty with France.• He was insanely popular among the people. The Directory feared that he would try to take over, so they sent him to Egypt to fight.• He failed in Egypt, but lied, and kept his popularity up.
• When the British, Austrians and Russians allied against France, the people felt that only Napoleon could save them.• The people of France themselves organized a plot to remove the directory and give the power to Napoleon.• When Napoleon put in effect his Coup détat, there was no one to oppose him.
• Napoleon became dictator of France.• France kept the government, supposedly free, but the government was his puppet.• The people of France were, for the most part, happy to have someone bring order to France.• Then… Napoleon played his master stroke. With a plebiscite, the people of France named him ‘Emperor Napoleon I of France’.• All the French had fought for, gone.