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Napoleon Bonaparte Notes

• Born on Aug. 15, 1769 in Corsica, a French colony
• He held a grudge against his father for submitting to the French
• He loved his mother
o Saw her as without evil as well as tough and determined
• Held high status
o Aristocrats but not rich
• Corsica was a society of peasants and held no future so he moved to France

Education and Early Military Service:

• Received a scholarship to a French school
• Went to France at age 9 (1778)
• Couldn’t speak French which made him a loner as well as his pride for Corsica
• Somber, aloof, quiet, solitary, ambitious
• Resented France, but turned sympathetic
• Joined Royal Military Academy at 15
• Believed in Rousseau’s philosophies
• During the process of discovering himself he believes he’s destined for greatness

Napoleon during the Revolution:

• Monarchy on edge of destruction
• Serving in the army, but welcomes the Revolution
• Feels that the Revolution will open up French society
• At 23, he becomes an idealistic revolutionary
• France was at war against all of Europe
o Austria, GB, Spain, Prussia and Russia
• First big chance for promotion
• Promoted from Captain to Brigadier-General
• “Liberty cannot be secured until criminals lose their heads”
• Hate the terror, but hate chaos more
• Supporter of Robespierre

• France became a new constitutional government
• The guillotine was forgotten
• Pleasure after Terror- return of salons
• Desperate for promotion
• Political turmoil gave him a chance
• Rebellions threatened to topple the republic
• He stepped in a killed many of the enemies
• Made Commander of the interior army at 26
• Married Josephine in 1796

Beginnings of French Army’s Glory:

• Napoleon is a shrewd propagandist
• Makes his victories in Italy widely publicized
• Makes his own newspapers and articles
• Wearing out his welcome in Italy
• While in Italy, never stopped chasing the Austrians
• Wanted new republic
• Defeated Austrian army without losing a battle

Egypt (July 11, 1798):

• Trapped in Egypt because of sunken ships
• Secretly sails for France (Aug. 1799)
• Rumours of impending coup
• He wanted to save France and was considered the “Man of the Hour” when he landed
• “You need a saviour? Here I am.”

Coup d’Etat (Nov. 1799):

• He joined Abbé Sièyes to overthrow the Directory
• Arranged for 3 consuls, in which he was the 1st
• Most powerful man in France (1800’s)
• “The revolution is over, I am the revolution.”

First Consul:
• He tried to catch the Austrians by surprise by taking his army over the alps (wins)
• Emperor of Austria asks Napoleon to halt war
• GB asks for peace a year later
• First time in 10 years Europe was at peace
• He then moved to consolidate his power

First Consul for Life:

• Dictorial powers
• King without the title
• Set out to prove he could govern
o Internal Accomplishments:
 Reorganized France in 2 years
 Established a bank
 Lycées
 Napoleonic Code
• Codification of new system of laws
 Concordat
• Signed an agreement with Pope in 1801 to make Catholicism
the prominent religion in France, but not the only one
 Believed in equality
 Rise with base of ability
• Ruled with an iron fist
• Government for the people, not by the people
• Established secret police to censure those who criticize him
o Spies everywhere
o “You don’t express yourself unless Napoleon says so.”
o He controls the press
• Only thing lacking was a crown
• He wanted his regime to endure

Emperor (Dec. 2, 1804):

• Pope brought in from Italy to give a sacred air to the ceremony
• Crowns himself and then Josephine
• “France had just beheaded a king, and now they were crowning an emperor.”
• Put his civil code into all the countries he seized
• Devised a curriculum for a girl’s school

Trafalgar 1805:
• Admiral Horatio Nelson of GB dies while sinking French fleet of 33 ships

Ulm 1805:
• Drove Austrian’s from the field
Austerlitz 1805:
• Napoleon gains control of Europe with his victory over Austria and Russia
• Signs peace treat of Pressburg

• Russia and France become allies against GB
• Napoleon’s territorial rule grew and he wished to unite all of Europe under French Rule

• Sent troops to Spain thinking he’d be welcomed
• Economic barricade against GB wasn’t working
• Spain was trading with GB
• Napoleon wanted to seize Spain (thought there’d be no resistance)
• France and Spain mutilated their prisoners (Guerilla warfare)
• No decisive victory
• Stayed in Spain for 5 years

• Reluctantly divorces Josephine (no heirs)

• Marries Mary Louise of Austrian royalty
• Unites two empires with this marriage

• Baby Boy- “King of Rome”
• Napoleon was growing soft at 42
• Bloody war in Spain continued
• GB still not conquered
• Russia wanted to withdraw from treaty
o Attacked Russia
o Russia started to retreat (weakened Napoleon’s army)
o Russian summer ruined Napoleon’s army
o Moscow began to burn, Napoleon abandoned the place
o Russian winter further ruined army
• Everyone allies against France but Austria

• Allies, including Austria, invaded France itself
• French army refused to fight, so Napoleon abdicated
• Exiled in Elba
• Louis XVII ruled under a constitutional monarchy

• Slipped off Elba with soldiers; Louis XVII fled France
• Marched to Waterloo to seize GB
• Wellington = GB; Blucher = Prussia
• Napoleon was outnumbered; GB waited for Prussia
• Battlegrounds too wet to maneuver artillery
o Napoleon was losing confidence
• He lost control of the battle (that lasted 12 hours) and lost
• He was convinced that he couldn’t have won anyways
• June 22
o Abdicated for the second time
• Exiled to St. Helena so that he could never return
Key Terms and Names:
1. Coup d’Etat: an overthrow of the government
2. Consulate: the new republic created by Napoleon
3. Plebiscite: a vote by citizens to decide government policy (referendum)
4. Abbé Sièyes: he conspired to overthrow the Directory
5. Corsica: the birthplace of Napoleon
6. Concordat: a peaceful agreement with the Roman Catholic Church
7. Napoleonic Code: a logical system of French law
8. Lycées: a French high school
9. Legion of Honour: an award given for distinguished service to France
10. Arc de Triomphe: the most famous of Napoleon’s public works
11. Conscripts: men who have been forced into the army by the government
12. Trafalgar: Nelson’s greatest naval victory
13. Austerlitz: this site is one of Napoleon’s major victories
14. Coalition: a group of states allied against a common enemy
15. Continental System: this was an attempt to destroy Britain
16. Blockade: an attempt to keep good from entering or leaving port
17. Berlin Decree: an attempt to close all European ports to Britain
18. Scorched Earth Policy: to destroy all food and shelter needed by an enemy
19. Leipzig: the site of the Battle of the Nations
20. Elba: Napoleon’s first place of exile
21. St. Helena: the island of Napoleon’s final exile
22. Waterloo: the place of Napoleon’s final defeat
23. Wellington: he defeated Napoleon
Timeline of Power Consolidation:
1. Coup d’Etat- November 9, 1799:
• Napoleon left Egypt to help Abbé Sièyes with a coup to overthrow the current
Directory and replaced it with a new government: The Consulate
2. The Consulate- February 1800:
• Napoleon became first consul in which he tried to restore order in France
o Created secret police
o Exiled aristocrats, Jacobins, etc
o Censored 60 of the 73 French newspapers
3. Assassination Attempt- December 24, 1800:
• He was nearly killed by a bomb planned by conspirators wanting to restore the
old Bourbon line of Kings. Although it was clear that the plot had been Royalist.
Napoleon felt more threatened by the Jacobins and used the event to persecute
and intimidate them
4. Consul for Life- 1802:
• He became so popular that the Council of State proclaimed him “Consul for
Life.” A plebiscite reported 3 600 000 to 8600 votes. He embodied the ideals of
both the Revolution and the republic.
5. Constitution Year XII- May 1804:
• The constitution declared that “the government of the republic is confided to an
emperor.” It also declared the inheritance of this title by Napoleon’s male heirs.
His brothers, Joseph and Louis, followed in line behind his son.
6. Emperor- December 2, 1804:
• Napoleon, in Notre Dame Cathedral, took the crown from Pope Pius VII and
crowned himself and then his wife Josephine.
Domestic Policy:

Topic Napoleon’s Policy What problem did it solve?

Bank of France - issued government securities and The Bank of France proved to
(Jan. 1800) conducted private business be a significant factor in the
- extended low interest loans to promote stabilization of the French
industry economy and remains as the
- new industry was encouraged by the central financial institution of
offer of grant money or tax rebates France today.
- franc = most stable currency
Tax Reform - tax collectors pay 5% of expected Provided more funds for the
revenue up front government and stabilized
- tax collectors = professional the economy
government employees
- no tax exemptions based on class
- indirect taxes were raised as more
revenue was needed
- additional goods were taxed
The Concordat - sought reconciliation Prevented the church from
(July 15, 1801) - healed the breach between the opposing Napoleon
constitutional and non-juring priests
- church recognized republic
- republic recognized Catholicism as the
religion of the majority
- state still paid the church
- right to civil marriage and divorce
- tolerance of other religions
Napoleonic Code - male citizens equal before the law The Napoleonic Code
(1804) - freedom from arrest without due combined traditional law with
process laws that were introduced
- equality of taxation during the revolutionary
- right to choose jobs and religious period. It organized the
freedom French legal system and
- women seen as second class remains the basis of French
- criminal code re-written laws to this day.
Education - lycées were created His reform in that area was
(1802) - male students could proceed to extensive and was designed
specialized schools of law, medicine, to provide a skilled
pharmacy, the military or education bureaucracy to do the work of
the state.

Napoleon’s Conquests:

Battle Enemy Results

Trafalgar: 1805 Britain- Admiral France’s navy of 33 French and Spanish ships
Horatio Nelson were sunk. Nelson died.
Ulm: 1805 Austria Drove the Austrian’s from the field
Austerlitz: 1805 Russia- Alexander I Victory = control of Europe
Austria- Francis II Peace with Treaty of Pressburg
Eylau: 1807 Russia Victory for France
Peace of Tilsit
- wage economic war against GB through a
continental blockade
Lisbon: 1807 Seized Lisbon To consolidate his control over Portugal and to
prevent British military action, Napoleon sent his
troops to Spain and then replaced the Spanish
king with his brother.
Russia: 1811-12 Russia- Alexander I Both sides claimed victory
Russians had practiced a Scorched Earth Policy in
which Napoleon’s army was defeated by the
Russian winter/summer.
Leipzig: 1813 Austria and Sweden- France was defeated and thus Napoleon abdicated
along with a coalition and exiled to the island of Elba
with most of Europe
Waterloo: 1815 Britain- Wellington Defeated France leading to Napoleon’s final exile
Prussia- Blucher in St. Helena

Napoleon I Biography (1769–1821):

French general, consul, and emperor (1804–15), a titanic figure in European history, born in
Ajaccio, Corsica. He entered the military schools at Brienne (1779) and Paris (1784),
commanded the artillery at the siege of Toulon (1793), and was promoted brigadier-general.
In 1796 he married Joséphine, widow of the Vicomte de Beauharnais, and soon after left for
Italy, where he skilfully defeated the Piedmontese and Austrians (at Lodi), and made several
gains through the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797). Intending to break British trade by
conquering Egypt, he captured Malta (1798), and entered Cairo, defeating the Turks; but after
the French fleet was destroyed by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 (also known as The
Battle of Aboukir Bay), he returned to France (1799), having learned of French reverses in
Europe. The coup d'état of 18th Brumaire followed (9 Nov 1799) in which Napoleon assumed
power as First Consul, instituting a military dictatorship. He then routed the Austrians at
Marengo (1800), made further gains at the Treaty of Luneville (1801), and consolidated
French domination by the Concordat with Rome and the Peace of Amiens with England (1802).

Elected consul for life, he assumed the hereditary title of emperor in 1804. His administrative,
military, educational, and legal reforms (notably the Code Napoléon) made a lasting impact on
French society. War with England was renewed, and extended to Russia and Austria. Forced by
England's naval supremacy at Trafalgar (1805) to abandon the notion of invasion, he attacked
the Austrians and Russians, gaining victories at Ulm and Austerlitz (1805). Prussia was
defeated at Jena and Auerstadt (1806), and Russia at Friedland (1807). After the Peace of
Tilsit, he became the arbiter of Europe. He then tried to cripple England with the Continental
System, ordering the European states under his control to boycott British goods. He sent
armies into Portugal and Spain, which resulted in the bitter and ultimately unsuccessful
Peninsular War (1808–14).

In 1809, wanting an heir, he divorced Joséphine, who was childless by him, and married the
Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, a son being born in 1811. Believing that Russia was
planning an alliance with England, he invaded (1812), defeating the Russians at Borodino,
before entering Moscow, but he was forced to retreat, his army broken by hunger and the
Russian winter. In 1813 his victories over the allied armies continued at Lützen, Bautzen, and
Dresden, but he was routed at Leipzig, and France was invaded. Forced to abdicate, he was
given the sovereignty of Elba (1814). The unpopularity which followed the return of the
Bourbons motivated him to return to France in 1815. He regained power for a period known as
the Hundred Days, but was defeated by the combination of Wellington's and Blücher's forces
at Waterloo. He fled to Paris, abdicated, surrendered to the British, and was banished to St
Helena, where he died. In all the areas of Europe under Napoleonic rule, the Code Napoléon
became law. A great number of political and social reforms resulted, including the abolition of
feudalism and serfdom, freedom of religion in most occupied states, the granting of
constitutions, universal male suffrage, and parliaments. Administrations, judiciary systems,
and a free education system based on the French model were set up. Higher education was
made available to all qualified applicants regardless of religion or social class.