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The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution Cause and Effect Essay


Napoleon’s early life

Napoleon Bonaparte attended a French military academy. He was recruited into the French army when he was 16. He was of the Corsican-Italian origin and he perceived the French as oppressors and hence despised them.

After the Robespierre and Jacobins taking the over the government in the year 1793, Napoleon took charge of the artillery and his achievements in the area made him the favorite at that time. After Robespierre’s execution in 1796, Napoleon saved the country from a possible revolt, culminating in the formation of a Directory government (Censer 200).

He then became the commander that took charge of the French Army within Italy. He led the country to battle with Austria and defeated troop’s larger troops than his. He employed the tactic of gaining control through influence and this was only possible through military as well as political power. He particularly concentrated on the improvement of his military reputation. He always used the large conquered land to pay his troops. The millions of francs sent to France were used to improve the economy of the country.

After his military endeavors and battle with other nations like Syria and Egypt, he returned to France with a plan to overthrow the French Directory government. Napoleon took over France when the country was embroiled in great turmoil and poverty. Corruption seemed to plague the country.

The laws that governed the Directory were basically made by the council of elders. Greed and the unwillingness to cooperate seemed to be the general characteristic of the politicians at that moment and there was a great desire for a leader to emerge so as to lead a coup against the government.

The Overthrow

Given that his star was shinning bright, Napoleon was expected to carry out the government’s overthrow and this came to happen in 1799 when he collaborated with Emmanuel Sieyes. He took over and enacted a new constitution which people widely approved. The Directory government was replaced by three consulate members, one of whom was Napoleon himself, along with two other advisors.

France had just acquired a new dictatorial leader. He reorganized his army and undertook defense restructuring. He battled with Austria after which he signed a peace treaty with Britain and Austria had surrendered. France was able to stay peacefully for the first time (Doyle 200).

After granting the freedom of worship to the Catholics, he managed to gain control of the Catholic Church. His establishment of the French bank played a big role in the country’s economic recovery. Napoleon decided to grant amnesty to banished political enemies although they were supposed to take an oath to remain loyal.

His Fragile Empire

It did not take much time before the fragile peace that the country had with its neighbors crumbled. The 1984 formation of the Napoleon code resulted in the securing of the middleclass as well as peasant gains which were accrued in the French revolution.

The women’s gains were however taken away and the press freedom was curtailed. The freedom of speech was cut down and in its place came the formation of the secrete police. He was voted in as a senator in1804.

The destruction of his inversion fleet occurred in 1985 in the Trafalgar Battle. This protected Britain from further attacks. The country colluded with Adversaries of France like Russia, Austria and Sweden against France. After several defeats however, the countries that formed the coalition started backing down due to the encounter with various defeats and hence the coalition collapsed.

Napoleon enthroned his family as well as the relatives. He decided to starve Britain by attacking its vessels. Thereafter, the country had several battles with its adversaries most of which were won. The peak period for Napoleon’s rule was in 1810.

The Downfall

The Continental system adopted by Napoleon did not yield fruit. In fact, Britain was in a better position to produce better goods than other countries. The banning of its good only led to Europe’s economic instability. The blame was directed at Russia and he decided to attack Moscow and burn it down.

He then retreated from Russia as most of his men were killed by Cossacks combined with the bitter winter. He deserted his troop with the intention of returning to France to make another troop. This however did not ogre well as the country’s main foes decided to make an alliance and attack France. Paris was taken and Napoleon abducted in 1814. The Bourdon dynasty was restored to France by the allies. Napoleon could no longer see his wife and son.

French Revolution

The French revolution signifies a great upheaval in the History of France. The country experienced widespread political and social unrest that had never been witnessed in the country’s History. It led to the collapse of the Royal Monarch which had ruled the country for long. Mass protests and liberal political group assaults resulted in a significant transformation in the French society. People claimed to have been enlightened and hence claimed their rights. They could no longer ‘bow’ to the traditional ways of observing hierarchy.

The revolution began in 1789 after the Estates-General convocation. At the beginning of the revolution, a Tennis Court Oath was proclaimed by the Third Estate members. There was a significant tension between the different liberal assemblies and the conservative monarch.

The standoff was fuelled by the fact that these liberal groups were insisting on the need for change while the monarch wanted to stick to the traditional way of carrying out its activities. The monarch was doing anything it could to thwart the reform efforts. There was a proclamation of the French republic in 1972 while the execution of King occurred the year that followed. The revolution was also fueled by the external threats (Hunt 300).

France’s revolutionary wars commenced in 1792 and it the country emerged victorious in most of those battles. France was able to conquer the Italian Peninsula, and other territories, some of which had defied it for long. Internally, the revolution was significantly rationalized.

The result was what came to be known as a ‘reign of terror’ which took place between 1793 and 1794 and the total number of people that were killed in the terror was about 40,000. After Robespierre and Jacobins fall, the directory government took charge and that was between 1975 and 1799. The directory government was replaced by the consulate and it was spearheaded by Napoleon Bonaparte. The modern era unfolded from the French Revolution.

Many developments are believed to have emerged from the French Revolution. Some of which include; republics emergence, secularism, liberal democracies among other modern ideological developments. There reasons as to why the French revolution is believed to have occurred. Some of them were the destitute situation of the French citizens.

Most of them were trapped in poverty and given that the cost of living was rising at an alarming rate, the people were plagued with hunger and malnutrition. Food prices were soaring and poor harvests aggravated the situation even more. Severe weather led to poor harvests. The transport system was also poor and this hindered the easy flow of foodstuffs and other farm produce from the largely populate urban centers. This greatly destabilized France (Walker 100).

The other cause for the revolution was the strict adherence of the Monarch to the ancient methods of governance. The people on the other hand wanted a governing situation in which they would have a say in all matters of governance.

People wanted their voices and cries to be heard. The country had also become bankrupt due to the various wars that had been fought. There was a greater social burden on the people and war debts had amounted to unbearable levels. The royal court was perceived as being too alienated and indifferent to the plight of the common men.

All these reasons led to dissatisfaction among the public and those particularly opposed to the king’s rule took it upon themselves to incite the public through pamphlets and propaganda and the result was an uprising from the people. The there was widespread chaos in the country and very many lives were lost. Even after the new regime taking over, they met with resistance from those Jacobins and royalists that were remaining.

Works Cited

Censer, Jack and Lynn Hunt. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.Print.

Doyle, William . The Oxford history of the French Revolution (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.

Hunt, Lynn . Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution. Berkley: University of California Press, 1984. Print.

Walker, Leslie H. “Sweet and Consoling Virtue: The Memoirs of Madame Roland” Eighteenth-Century Studies, French Revolutionary Culture (2001): 403–419.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 2). The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-rise-and-fall-of-napoleon-and-the-cause-of-revolution/

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"The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution." IvyPanda, 2 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-rise-and-fall-of-napoleon-and-the-cause-of-revolution/.

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IvyPanda. "The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution." December 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-rise-and-fall-of-napoleon-and-the-cause-of-revolution/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution." December 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-rise-and-fall-of-napoleon-and-the-cause-of-revolution/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Rise and fall of Napoleon and The Cause of Revolution'. 2 December.

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