Chapter 6 section 4 pp. 182-185
Setting the Scene
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“He was like an expert chess
player, with the human race
for an opponent, which he
proposed to checkmate.”
“Nothing has been simpler
than my elevation, it is owing
to the peculiarities of the
time”
From 1799-1815, Napoleon
would dominate France and
Europe
His name was given to the
final phase of the revolution“The Age of Napoleon”
Napoleon’s Rise to Power
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Napoleon Bonaparte was born on
August 15th, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica,
an island ruled by the French in the
Mediterranean Sea.
Parents were minor nobles but had
little money
At age 9 was sent to France for
training and a military career. He was
20 when the revolution broke out.
He favored the Jacobins and
republican rule. But found conflicting
ideas and personalities confusing.
“Since one must take sides, one might
as well choose the side that is
victorious, the side which devastates,
loots, and burns.
Early Successes
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During the turmoil of the
revolution, Napoleon rose
quickly in the ranks of the
army.
 December 1793, drove
British forces out of French
port of Toulon.
 Later went on to win several
victories against Austrians,
captured most of Northern
Italy, and forced Hapsburg
emperor to make peace.
 Led expedition to Egypt in
1798 which was disastrous.
But most in France had no
idea of his losses.
Early Successes Cont.
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By 1799 moved from
victorious general to political
leader.
1799 helped to throw off the
Directory in a coup-de-tat.
Soon after that another
constitution was drawn up
and Napoleon took the title
First Consul.
1802 had himself named
consul for life.
A Self-made Emperor
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Two years later he had
enough power to take the title
of Emperor of the French.
 Invited the pope to preside
over his coronation in Paris.
 During ceremony he took the
crown from the popes hand
and placed in on his own
head. By doing this he was
trying to prove that he owned
the throne.
 Each step he held a
plebiscite-or ballot in which
voters say yes or no, and each
time the voters strongly
supported him
France Under Napoleon
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Napoleon consolidated
his power by
strengthening the central
government.
“Order, Security, and
Efficiency” replaced the
French Revolution
slogan of “Liberty,
Equality, and Fraternity”
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Napoleon constructed new roads and
buildings for the French, which
benefited all classes of people.
 He set up a system of public schools
with strict government control to train
officials and military officers.
 Napoleon reversed some of the
Revolutions social reforms.
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He made peace with the Catholic Church by
recognizing religious freedom for Catholics,
but keeping the church under government
control. Revolutionaries denounced this but
obviously Catholics welcomed it.
Napoleon won support across class
lines
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He encouraged emigres to return if they
swore an oath of loyalty
He recognized peasants right to lands they
bought from the church and Nobles
Reforms
Napoleonic Code
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The Code was Napoleons
most lasting reform
It included Enlightenment
principles
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It did undo some of the
reforms of the Revolution
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Equality of all citizens
Religious Toleration
Advancement on merit
Women lost most rights
Men gained absolute authority
over wives and kids
Napoleon valued order and
authority over individual rights
Building an Empire
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Napoleon increased his
reputation on the battlefield
from 1804-14
He defeated the greatest
powers in Europe
He took huge risks and
suffered huge losses
“I grew up on the field of
battle…and a man such as I
am cares little for the life of a
million men”
By 1810 his Empire had
reached its greatest extent
Building an Empire cont.
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As a military leader Napoleon valued rapid movements
and made effective use of his large army
He changed his “game” plan for each battle, too keep his
enemy guessing
Napoleons presence on the battlefield, one enemy said,
“is worth 40,000 troops”
The Grand Empire
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Napoleon redrew the map of
Europe as he conquered and
annexed- added outright,
land
 The Netherlands, Belgium,
parts of Italy and Germany all
fell to Napoleon and his
armies
 He abolished the Holy Roman
Empire and created a 38
member Confederation of the
Rhine under French
protection
 And he cut Prussian territory
in half creating the Grand
Duchy or Warsaw in “Poland”
The Grand Empire cont.
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Diplomacy was one of
Napoleon’s weapons
He put family and friends
on the thrones of Europe
Joseph Bonaparte
became the King of Spain
Rulers from Madrid to
Moscow signed treaties
with the “Corsican
Upstart”
Napoleons successes
brought him great
accolades at home
France Versus Britain
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Great Britain was the only
European Nation to
remain free from
Napoleon
With its superior naval
power they were able to
hold of the French
At the Battle of Trafalgar
off the coast of Spain
Horatio Nelson smashed
the French fleet.
France Versus Britain cont.
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With no way to invade Britain Napoleon turned to economic warfare
 He created the Continental System, which closed European ports to
the British
 Great Britain responded with a blockade- or the shutting off of ports
by ships to keep supplies and people from coming in or going out.
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Both sides seized each
others ships and neutral
ships that they believed
carried supplies.
 These actions especially by
the British angered the
United States and led to
the war of 1812.
France Versus Britain cont.
In the end, Napoleon’s Continental System failed to bring Britain to
its knees
 British exports declined, but its powerful navy kept vital trade
routes open
 Napoleons system created a scarcity of goods in Europe and send
prices soaring
 This all increased the resentment by the people against French
power over Europe
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Chapter 6 Section 4: The Age of Napoleon Begins