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Napoleon And Europe Essay

4637 words - 19 pages

Assess the impact of Napoleon on Europe

The Napoleonic Empire came into existence following the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of France at Notre Dame in 1804. The frontiers of the ancien regime had been expanded up to and beyond France’s natural borders, with the momentum of expansion following in direct correlation with the pace of France’s military conquests under the leadership of Bonaparte himself. The ‘Great Empire’ is often referred to as a single entity embracing French controlled Europe, but territories were in fact separated depending on the levels of French control. Territory ruled directly from Paris was known as the pays reunis which compromised of France’s ...view middle of the document...

By having a strong dynasty, Napoleon would have the Bonaparte name remembered just like that of the Hapsburgs as an example, leaving Europe in control of the Bonaparte family in the future and lead to high levels of power. This also links to Napoleon’s early life while in Corsica, where the clan system was highly valued. The clan system was based on the principle of supporting family members or friends due to the fact their loyalty could be rarely questioned. It also links to the structure of Napoleon’s government as prefects which were head of independent departments were often friends of Napoleon and were appointed by the First Consul because of Napoleon’s confidence in them completing their job to the best of their ability through their loyalty to Napoleon, which is why Napoleon is likely to have appointed family members and friends such as Murat in high positions. Napoleon’s impact could therefore be seen as one to gain continental power for himself and his family rather than putting France first while many could say it Napoleon failed to consider ways in which to improve Europe, but in fact it should be argued that by appointing people close to him such as Louis Bonaparte, it is very likely these people will respect Napoleon and be determined to work hard for the state and more importantly Napoleon, which would as a result provide leadership which would take the state’s issues seriously while also being likely to offer stability due to their reign being long term due to their association with Napoleon. Louis, who became King of Holland shows this as he became popular with the Dutch people due to the fact he looked to reform the Kingdom of Holland and strived for improvement, showing that in fact Napoleon’s use of the clan system and appointment of those closest to him did make attempts to improve the outlook for European states and provide stability and improvement. By appointing people close to him, it also shows how Napoleon liked to centralize power around himself as by having loyal people around him, he could easily influence their role and in effect manage the country/state himself through the use of a family member or close friend, showing that Napoleon in fact looked to manage Europe as independently as possible. This trend is also followed in countries such as Holland, Poland, Italy and Germany with these countries gaining more centralized power, allowing for more stable governments. As well as this, Napoleon’s level of control on different countries differed based upon their location. Lands that had been annexed to France were directly ruled from Paris which included Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine. This shows that countries geographically close to France were directly ruled because they would act as a protective zone to France from attacks from enemies and troops could quickly be called upon if required by France, which agrees with Napoleon when he justifies that the creation of the Empire is for the protection of France...

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