Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Age of Napoleon Essay

Napoleon Bonaparte was a minor Corsican aristocrat who fought his way up to be Emperor of France. He was a dictator that advanced many of the goals of the Revolution. He represented change in the government and social processes. His motto was to be ruled by him or fight against him. He was well-known for his conquests all over Europe.

Some of the battles he fought and won were Marengo in June 1800 in which he defeated Austria, Austerlitz on December 2, 1805 in which he defeated the Russian and Austrian armies, Jena-Auerstadt and Friedland on June 14, 1807 in which he defeated the Russian Army in Poland. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit by Czar Alexander I in 1807. After this, Napoleon controlled the majority of Europe. By 1811, nearly all of Europe except for the Balkans was included in his Grand Empire.

Napoleon had a large family and he often appointed his brothers and sisters, distant relatives and faithful servants to royal positions in the countries he conquered. All of Napoleon’s takeovers followed the same pattern. At the beginning, his army would take over the area. Then, he would use his influence on the government to draft a new constitution. Then he would appoint a relative as the ruler to make sure the conquest would be loyal to him. His empire followed his orders and his rules. By 1811 his dream of a unified Europe under his rule was becoming a reality.

The reality of his dream soon came to an end when he was finally defeated in April 1814 and was exiled to Elba. Even though he was not an evil ruler, he was forceful when he took over other countries. Great Britain was the major stumbling block in Napoleon’s grand plan of conquering all of Europe and to make it unified. He even fought during his exile to Elba but was eventually defeated one last time.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a fighter from day one, working his way up from French general to Emperor. He fought to the end when he suffered a bloody defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815 and was exiled to Saint Helena. He eventually died in 1821 but his memory will haunt the French political life forever.