Napoleon Bonaparte



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Napoleon Bonaparte

Emperor of France, military genius who created a French empire. He was born in Corsica to a family of humble origins and attended a French military academy. He joined the Jacobins during the French revolution and led French armies during the revolution. Napoleon used his military reputation to rise through the ranks and rise to power in the French government. In 1799, he led a coup d’etat against the Directory. He established the Consulate, which gave him executive power. Acting as First Consul, Napoleon effectively ran France. In 1802, he assumed the title of “Consul for Life”. In 1804, he crowned himself emperor. Napoleon led numerous military campaigns to build a French Empire.

Consulate

The government created by Napoleon and his supporters following the coup d’etat to overthrow the Directory. The Consulate included an “elected” legislature, but power was effectively in the hands of the First Consul (Napoleon”

Concordat

1801, agreement between Napoleon and the Catholic Church. It placed the Church under state control, while also granting concessions to the Church. Catholicism was declared the religion of the majority, but religious tolerance was granted to Protestants and Jews. The state was given power to approve the appointment of Bishops in France. The state paid ecclesiastical salaries (except Jewish religious leaders). Pre-revolutionary calendar and reestablished Sundays and religious holidays. Napoleon changed back to the The Concordat made peace with the Church so that religion could flourish again in France and Napoleon would not have to worry about the Church challenging his authority.

Duke of Enghien

Louis de Bourbon-Conde, member of the Bourbon family, which had controlled France before the Revolution. In 1804, he was accused of participating in a conspiracy to assassinate Napoleon. He was put on trial and executed even though there was no evidence to prove his guilt.

Toussaint L’Ouverture

A former slave who led a rebellion against France on the island of Hispaniola. This rebellion led to the independence of Haiti in 1804, the first territory in Latin America to gain independence. L’Ouverture was captured by the French and died while in captivity. With the independence of Haiti, France lost a very valuable colony and accumulated war debts. In an effort to pay for the war in Haiti, Napoleon sold a huge tract of land to the United States, the Louisiana Purchase.

Battle of Trafalgar

Naval battle leading to a French defeat. This battle proved that Great Britain remained the superior naval power in Europe. Napoleon’s dreams on potentially invading England were destroyed with this defeat.

Confederation of the Rhine

Organized by Napoleon, it was composed of 16 German states including Austria and Prussia. These states signed agreements with Napoleon and vowed to support him in future wars. Napoleon acted as “protector” of the confederation. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was officially dissolved when Francis II abdicated the position of Holy Roman Emperor. The Prussians and Austrians eventually attempted to rebel against Napoleon, but both failed.

Citizen-soldiers

Military men who fought on behalf of their home country. Citizen soldiers were more devoted to the cause due to a sense of nationalism. In pre-revolutionary times, most armies were composed of mercenaries who were hired by the nobility.

Napoleonic Code

Issued in 1804, this created a uniform system of codified law. In pre-revolutionary France, cahiers (lists of grievances) were given to the king. Many of them called for more uniform laws. Napoleon’s law code created unity and stability. The law code protected rights to private property and granted freedom of religion. All members (males) of French society were seen as equals in the eyes of the law code. Napoleon’s law codes reaffirmed patriarchy (male dominance) and legally subordinated women. Napoleon was quoted to have referred to women as “…nothing more than machines for producing children”. The law code also legally subordinated children to their parents but did end the practice of primogeniture (inheritance by the oldest son), which allowed all children to inherit equally.

Notables

A class of elites who supported Napoleon. He rewarded them with titles and positions. Napoleon restored titles that had been eliminated during the French Revolution and used the titles to reward his loyal followers. The titles were awarded for service to the state, not blood lines or ancestry, which allowed those of lower status to rise through the ranks by serving Napoleon.

Continental System

Announced in 1806, this was Napoleon’s attempt to weaken Britain by attacking their economy. Napoleon tried to cut of British access to markets in continental Europe and blockade the British from being able to trade in European ports. It failed because the British navy was able to protect British merchants, the French were unable to blockade all ports, and smugglers helped to keep British products available.

Peninsular War

In 1807, Napoleon made an agreement with the king Spain, which granted him permission to move his armies through Spanish territory so that the French could invade Portugal. Portugal was an ally of the British and France hoped the weaken Britain by eliminating their allies. With the invasion of Portugal, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil. While launching the invasion of Portugal, there was a change of leadership. Seeing the change of kings as an opportunity to add Spain to his empire, Napoleon forced the Spanish king (Ferdinand VII) to abdicate. He then invited his brother, Joseph, to rule Spain. In response, the Spanish led a rebellion. Using guerilla warfare tactics, the Spanish fought back against Napoleon’s army.

Talleyrand

Foreign Minister, he resigned in 1807. He believed Napoleon was extending his empire beyond the ability to be governed effectively. In 1809, he secretly began to negotiate with Austria and plan for a restoration of the French monarchy. In 1814, he called the Senate into session and they voted to depose Napoleon. Faced with defeat, Napoleon abdicated the throne and attempted to commit suicide.

Grand Army

Napoleon’s army of 600,000 men that was employed for the invasion of Russia in 1812. After pushing the Russian army back to Moscow, the French army was low on supplies. Upon entering Moscow, the French found the city nearly destroyed by fire, which had been started by the Russians as they retreated further east. With the winter approaching, Napoleon decided to retreat. By the time the French had made it back to France, only 40,000 of the “Gr and Army” was still alive.

Louis XVIII

Brother of Louis XVI, after Napoleon’s defeat, the Bourbon dynasty was restored and Louis XVIII became the new king

Charter

Constitutional document signed by Louis XVIII. The Charter promised public liberties such as freedom of religion and expression. It reaffirmed the power of the monarch as a divine ruler while also providing promises for an elected legislature.

100 Day

In 1815, Napoleon escaped from exile and returned to France. His former armies joined him as he attempted to regain power.

Waterloo

The battle in which Napoleon received his final defeat in 1815

St. Helena

The island to which Napoleon was exiled after his final defeat. He died there in 1821.

Joseph Bonaparte

Older brother of Napoleon. After the French invasion of Spain, Napoleon appointed Joseph as ruler of Spain

Jean- Louis David

Painter who depicted events from the French Revolution and reign of Napoleon

The Coalitions

Countries that opposed Napoleon. At various points, Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia allied themselves with each other in hopes of defeating Napoleon.

Karl von Clausewitz

A Prussian general, political theorist, and military writer.

Legion of Honor

Established in 1802, this was created to honor those who served Napoleon in the military.

Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, commander of British troops who assisted the Portuguese and Spanish in their fight against Napoleon during the Peninsular War. He also commanded the British forces at the Battle of Waterloo when Napoleon received his final defeat.


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