✯✯✯ Napoleon Bonaparte French Revolution

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Napoleon Bonaparte French Revolution



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The French Revolution - OverSimplified (Part 1)

The French revolted and set up a republic. French successes led to other revolts, including those who wanted relief from the suffering caused by the Industrial Revolution, and nationalism sprang up hoping for independence from foreign rulers. Alexis de Tocqueville observed, "We are sleeping together in a volcano. A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon.

The French middle class watched changes in Britain with interest. Meanwhile, economically, the French working class may perhaps have been slightly better off than Britain's working class. Still, unemployment in France threw skilled workers down to the level of the proletariat. The only nominally social law of the July Monarchy was passed in This law prohibited the use of labor of those children under eight years of age, and the employment of children less than 13 years old for night-time work.

This law was routinely flouted. The year saw a financial crisis and bad harvests, and the following year saw an economic depression. A poor railway system hindered aid efforts, and the peasant rebellions that resulted were forcefully crushed. Bastiat, who was one of the most famous political writers of the s, had written countless works concerning the economic situation before , and provided a different explanation of why the French people were forced to rise in the revolt.

He believed that the main reasons were primarily the political corruption, along with its very complex system of monopolies, permits, and bureaucracy, which made those who were able to obtain political favors unjustly privileged and able to dictate the market conditions and caused a myriad of businesses to collapse, as well as protectionism which was the basis for the French foreign trade at the time, and which caused businesses along the Atlantic Coast to file for bankruptcy, along with the one owned by Bastiat's family. Indeed, most of Bastiat's early works concern the situation in Bayonne and Bordeaux, two large merchant harbors before the Napoleonic Wars, gradually devastated first by Napoleon I's continental blockade, and later by the protectionist legislation of the nineteenth century.

According to Bastiat's biographer, G. Roche, just prior to the revolution, , citizens of Lyon were described as "indigent" and by there were at least , abandoned children in France. International markets were not similarly troubled at the time, which Bastiat attributed to the freedom of trade. Indeed, a large part of French economic problems in the s and s were caused by the shortage and unnaturally high prices of different products which could have easily been imported from other countries, such as textiles, machines, tools, and ores, but doing so was either outright illegal at the time or unprofitable due to the system of punitive tariffs. Bastiat has also noted that the French legislators were entirely unaware of the reality and the effects of their radical policies.

One of the members of the French Chamber of Deputies reportedly received a standing ovation when he proposed that the depression of was due primarily to "external weakness" and "idle pacifism". Nationalist tendencies caused France to severely restrict all international contacts with the United Kingdom, including the ban on importing tea, perceived as destructive to the French national spirit. Such governmental policies and obliviousness to the real reasons of economic troubles were, according to Bastiat, the main causes of the French Revolution of the and the rise of socialists and anarchists in the years preceding the revolution itself.

Because political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed in France, activists of the largely middle class opposition to the government began to hold a series of fund-raising banquets. This campaign of banquets Campagne des banquets , was intended to circumvent the governmental restriction on political meetings and provide a legal outlet for popular criticism of the regime. The campaign began in July Friedrich Engels was in Paris dating from October and was able to observe and attend some of these banquets. Anger over the outlawing of the political banquets brought crowds of Parisians flooding out onto the streets at noon on 22 February At 2 pm the next day, 23 February, Prime Minister Guizot resigned.

Upon hearing the news of Guizot's resignation, a large crowd gathered outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An officer ordered the crowd not to pass, but people in the front of the crowd were being pushed by the rear. The officer ordered his men to fix bayonets , probably wishing to avoid shooting, but in what is widely regarded as an accident, a soldier discharged his musket and the rest of the soldiers then fired into the crowd. Fifty-two people were killed. Paris was soon a barricaded city. Omnibuses were turned into barricades , and thousands of trees were felled. Fires were set, and angry citizens began converging on the royal palace. Louis-Philippe, fearing for his life, abdicated on 24 February in favor of his nine-year-old grandson Philippe, Comte de Paris and fled to England in disguise.

A strong undercurrent of republican sentiment prevented Philippe from taking his place as king, despite the initial acceptance of the Chamber of Deputies. During and soon after the events of February, Bastiat's pamphlets were reportedly plastered throughout Paris and published in both conservative and socialist newspapers. He also wrote many articles in response to the socialist demands to abolish private property, which were also very popular at the time, and received response from chief socialist leaders such as Pierre Proudhon.

Indeed, they exchanged letters which were published in socialist newspapers such as La Voix du Peuple. On 24 February , the liberal opposition came together to organize a provisional government, called the Second Republic. The poet Alphonse de Lamartine was appointed president of the provisional government. Lamartine served as a virtual dictator of France for the next three months. The Constituent Assembly was to establish a new republican government for France.

In preparation for these elections, two major goals of the provisional government were universal suffrage and unemployment relief. Universal male suffrage was enacted on 2 March , giving France nine million new voters. As in all other European nations, women did not have the right to vote. However, during this time a proliferation of political clubs emerged, including women's organizations. Relief for the unemployed was achieved by the provisional government through enactment of the National Workshops , which guaranteed French citizens' "right to work".

The "right" of a citizen to work and indeed the National Workshops themselves had been the idea of Jean Joseph Louis Blanc. By May the National Workshops were employing , workers and paying out daily wages of 70, livres. There was a corresponding decline in the luxury trade and credit became expensive. Naturally, the provisional government was disorganized as it attempted to deal with France's economic problems. The conservative elements of French society were wasting no time in organizing against the provisional government. After roughly a month, conservatives began to openly oppose the new government, using the rallying cry "order", which the new republic lacked. Additionally, there was a major split between the citizens of Paris and those citizens of the more rural areas of France.

The provisional government set out to establish deeper government control of the economy and guarantee a more equal distribution of resources. To deal with the unemployment problem, the provisional government established National Workshops. The unemployed were given jobs building roads and planting trees without regard for the demand for these tasks. The population of Paris ballooned as job seekers from all over France came to Paris to work in the newly formed National Workshops. To pay for the new National Workshops and the other social programmes, the provisional government placed new taxes on land.

These taxes alienated the "landed classes"—especially the small farmers and the peasantry of the rural areas of France—from the provisional government. Hardworking rural farmers were resistant to paying for the unemployed city people and their new "Right to Work" National Workshops. The taxes were widely disobeyed in the rural areas and, thus, the government remained strapped for cash.

Popular uncertainty about the liberal foundations of the provisional government became apparent in 23 April elections. Despite agitation from the left, voters elected a constituent assembly which was primarily moderate and conservative. In May, Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure , chairman of the provisional government, made way for the Executive Commission , a body of state acting as Head of State with five co-presidents.

These radicals in Paris pressured the government to head an international "crusade" for democracy. Independence of other European states such as Poland was urged by the Paris radicals. In , Poland did not exist as a nation state. The nation of Poland had been gradually "partitioned" or divided between foreign powers of Prussia, Russia, and Austria in and More than a decade later, in , after Napoleon had no offspring of his own with Empress Josephine, he had their marriage annulled so he could find a new wife and produce an heir.

In , he wed Marie Louise , the daughter of the emperor of Austria. In addition to his son with Marie Louise, Napoleon had several illegitimate children. From to , France was engaged in the Napoleonic Wars, a series of major conflicts with various coalitions of European nations. However, in December of that same year, Napoleon achieved what is considered to be one of his greatest victories at the Battle of Austerlitz, in which his army defeated the Austrians and Russians. The victory resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Beginning in , Napoleon sought to wage large-scale economic warfare against Britain with the establishment of the so-called Continental System of European port blockades against British trade. In , the French defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Wagram, resulting in further gains for Napoleon. During these years, Napoleon reestablished a French aristocracy eliminated in the French Revolution and began handing out titles of nobility to his loyal friends and family as his empire continued to expand across much of western and central continental Europe.

In , Russia withdrew from the Continental System. In retaliation, Napoleon led a massive army into Russia in the summer of In September, both sides suffered heavy casualties in the indecisive Battle of Borodino. Retreating Russians set fires across the city in an effort to deprive enemy troops of supplies. After waiting a month for a surrender that never came, Napoleon, faced with the onset of the Russian winter, was forced to order his starving, exhausted army out of Moscow. During the disastrous retreat, his army suffered continual harassment from a suddenly aggressive and merciless Russian army. At the same time as the catastrophic Russian invasion, French forces were engaged in the Peninsular War , which resulted in the Spanish and Portuguese, with assistance from the British, driving the French from the Iberian Peninsula.

Napoleon then retreated to France, and in March coalition forces captured Paris. On April 6, , Napoleon, then in his mids, was forced to abdicate the throne. With the Treaty of Fontainebleau, he was exiled to Elba, a Mediterranean island off the coast of Italy. He was given sovereignty over the small island, while his wife and son went to Austria. On February 26, , after less than a year in exile, Napoleon escaped Elba and sailed to the French mainland with a group of more than 1, supporters. On March 20, he returned to Paris, where he was welcomed by cheering crowds. Napoleon raised a new army and planned to strike preemptively, defeating the allied forces one by one before they could launch a united attack against him.

In June , his forces invaded Belgium, where British and Prussian troops were stationed. However, two days later, on June 18, at the Battle of Waterloo near Brussels, the French were crushed by the British, with assistance from the Prussians. He died there on May 5, , at age 51, most likely from stomach cancer. During his time in power, Napoleon often posed for paintings with his hand in his vest, leading to some speculation after his death that he had been plagued by stomach pain for years. In , the Directory the French Revolutionary government took control of the country, a power it would it assume until After falling out of favor with Robespierre, Napoleon came into the good graces of the Directory in after he saved the government from counter-revolutionary forces.

For his efforts, Napoleon was soon named commander of the Army of the Interior. In addition, he was a trusted advisor to the Directory on military matters. In , Napoleon took the helm of the Army of Italy, a post he'd been coveting. The army, just 30, strong, disgruntled and underfed, was soon turned around by the young military commander. Under his direction, the reinvigorated army won numerous crucial victories against the Austrians, greatly expanded the French empire and squashed an internal threat by the royalists, who wished to return France to a monarchy. All of these successes helped make Napoleon the military's brightest star. Napoleon's image - and that of France - were greatly harmed by the loss, and in a show of newfound confidence against the commander, Britain, Austria, Russia and Turkey formed a new coalition against France.

In the spring of , French armies were defeated in Italy, forcing France to give up much of the peninsula. In October, Napoleon returned to France, where he was welcomed as a popular military leader. Following his return to France, Napoleon participated in an event known as the Coup of 18 Brumaire, a bloodless coup d'etat that overthrew the French Directory. The Directory was replaced by a three-member consulate after a series of political and military machinations orchestrated in large part by Napoleon's brother Lucien Bonaparte.

Additionally, with the Treaty of Amiens in , the war-weary British agreed to peace with the French although the peace would only last for a year. Napoleon then returned to war with Britain, Russia and Austria. In , the British registered an important naval victory against France at the Battle of Trafalgar , which led Napoleon to scrap his plans to invade England. Instead, he set his sights on Austria and Russia, and beat back both militaries in the Battle of Austerlitz. Other victories soon followed, allowing Napoleon to greatly expand the French empire and paving the way for loyalists to his government to be installed in Holland, Italy, Naples, Sweden, Spain and Westphalia.

On March 21, , Napoleon instituted the Napoleonic Code, otherwise known as the French Civil Code, parts of which are still in use around the world today. The Napoleonic Code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and stated that government jobs must be given to the most qualified. The Napoleonic Code followed Napoleon's new constitution, which created the first consul — a position which amounted to nothing less than a dictatorship. Following the French Revolution, unrest continued in France; in June of , a coup resulted in the left-wing radical group, the Jacobins, taking control of the Directory.

Working with one of the new directors, Emmanuel Sieyes, Napoleon hatched plans for a second coup that would place the pair along with Pierre-Roger Ducos atop a new government called the Consulate. With the new guidelines, the first consul was permitted to appoint ministers, generals, civil servants, magistrates and even members of the legislative assemblies. Napoleon would, of course, be the one who would fulfill the first consul's duties. In February , the new constitution was easily accepted. He also negotiated a European peace, which lasted just three years before the start of the Napoleonic Wars. His reforms proved popular: In he was elected consul for life, and two years later he was proclaimed emperor of France.

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