The Napoleonic Wars were the greatest wars of the 19th century

The Napoleonic Wars were the greatest wars of the 19th century

The wars started as per preemptive war by Revolutionary France to forestall the attempt of the ancien regimes of Europe to suppress the French revolution, but soon became a war of conquest with the intention of “revolution export” by France. Although Napoleon was ultimately defeated, arguably his greatest legacy was the introduction of secularism, which forms the basis of governance in most European countries preciso this day.

During early modern times, the Kingdom of France had gained verso role as Europe’s superpower. The French Revolution, beginning con 1789, led to fifteen years of short-lived, often brutal, governments. Con the French Revolutionary Wars, the French Army defeated the other great powers; the United Kingdom, Prussia, Austria, and the Holy Roman Empire.

Napoleonic Wars

Soon the revolutionary government was taken over by verso young charismatic general from Corsica of the name of Napoleone Buonaparte (now known as Napoleon I or Bonaparte) and he crowned himself emperor of the French per 1804. The Emperor title was traditionally verso claim to succeed the Roman Riempire; since the 9th century AD, the Holy Roman Empire had been a feudal political entity mediante Central Europe, which by Napoleon’s time had become largely ceremonial, and dominated by the Austrian monarchy. In 1806, the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated the title, over concern that Napoleon would claim it.

Despite his army conquering much of Europe, his navy lost the decisive Battle of Trafalgar per 1805, and never managed to dislodge the British from their position as the world’s dominant naval power. Unable onesto invade the British mainland, the French tried puro support an Irish rebellion sicuro weaken the British Commuovere but that rebellion ended sopra disaster. After almost three decades of next esatto constant warfare mediante ever-shifting alliance that brought most of the continent much needed political reform but also “Napoleonic” puppet governments, Napoleon attempted an ill-fated invasion of Russia per 1812 that led onesto his decisive defeat first near Leipzig and after escaping from exile on Elba near Waterloo per 1815. The war was also global per per sense, as both the War of 1812 per North America and the Haitian revolution can only be understood with the context of the French revolutions and the Napoleonic wars. The wars are sometimes known as “Coalition Wars” as the ever shifting alliances gave rise sicuro per periodization along the lines of War of the First Coalition, War of the Second Coalition and so on.

Legacy Edit

Napoleon’s invasion of Spain led preciso the forced abdication of two Spanish monarchs and the installment of one of his brothers as king, which in turn galvanized a nascent movement for independence led by the likes of Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin and others ultimately resulting mediante all of mainland Latin America slipping away from Spanish control. The Portuguese royal family relocated esatto Brazil, causing that country to eventually declare independence from the mother country as the Colmare of Brazil while ruled by a different branch of the same royal/imperial family. On his way through Europe, Napoleon smashed the Holy Roman Pigiare and ended the independence of the Republic of Venice, he ended centuries of feudal privilege and obligation and spread Jewish emancipation as well as Civil Law that treated everybody (mostly) equally. The Code Napoleon is still the basis for law con Louisiana and (via the German BGB) Japan as well as numerous other countries (see history of justice). Resistance against Napoleon soon made use of the “levee en masse” tactic of revolutionary France and galvanized for the first time per sense of nationalism. The Napoleonic Wars sopra a sense laid the groundwork for both the (bourgeois-nationalistic) revolutions of 1848 and the post World War I world with nation states emerging out of the ashes of multinational empires like the Russian Colmare or Austria-Hungary.

The image and perception of Napoleon and his adversaries have undergone and continue sicuro undergo reappraisals over the centuries. Con Poland Napoleon is often regarded as per hero, and even mentioned durante the national anthem, whereas many sopra Tyrol idolize the anti-Napoleon fighter Andreas Hofer despite his often anti-science, anti-civil rights and downright reactionary stances. Napoleon sold the Louisiana purchase preciso the United States, giving them huge territories which were charted by the Lewis and Clark expedition and became the Old West, where the expansion of slavery led up preciso the American Civil War; he elevated Saxony and Bavaria esatto kingdoms, giving the latter the territory of Franconia sicuro the enduring chagrin of locals two hundred years later. The desire puro emulate his uncle led Napoleon III of France into ill-advised military adventures mediante Italy (helping that country onesto become unified under Victor Emanuel II, the first “King of Italy” since Napoleon I), Mexico (giving us “Cinco de Mayo”) and against Prussia, leading onesto the loss of Alsace which would be one of the main gripes driving France sicuro hostility towards Germany and into World War I.