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Topic 6 French Revolution & Napoleon (1789-1807) Topic 6 French Revolution & Napoleon (1789-1807)

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

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Topic Six
French Revolution & Napoleon I
Further Eastern Crisis:
-- The Ottoman Empire was defeated by Russia since France was unable to help the Turks;
-- Huge and crucial gain for Russia;
-- 1774; Treaty of Kutchuk-kainardji: the Ottoman Empire recognized the loss, the rights of Russia to
navigate the Black Sea, to trade with the Empire, to trade with the Balkans, and to enter the eastern
Mediterranean bringing Russia into the rival with France and England;
-- 1787 Turks again declared war on Russia, expecting France to help them, since France was victorious
in the American Revolution.
-- France was too weak to help the Turks, only leading to unilateral Russian gains;
-- Russia became the most important power in Eastern Europe;
-- France also showed her inability to help near-by states.
The Dutch Affair (1787)
-- Dutch: was defeated in the fourth Anglo-Dutch war;
-- Split in the political parties: pro-French and pro-British.
-- The Patriarchs emerged: lower class who also wanted a say in politics;
-- The Patriarchs received the most support from France;
-- The Patriarchs challenged William V; huge gains; chased him out of the capital; mistreated his family;
-- Chaos within the Dutch Republic;
-- This became an international affair outside intervention of the Dutch Affair.
-- French Interest: the Dutch Patriarchs serves the French interest to show that France is not yet dead;
-- British interest: care about William V; not allowed lowlands states to become French allies;
-- Prussian interest: the wife of William V was sister of the new Prussian King (Frederick William II);
she was mistreated by the Patriarchs;
-- Aug 1787 Prussia invaded the Dutch state with tacit approval from London; restored William V;
-- France was compelled to sign a declaration to promise to never interfere with Dutch Affair, which is
extremely humiliating to France;
Development of Belgium
-- having seen the success of American Revolution and example of French Revolution;
-- 1790, deposed Joseph, declared independence, united Belgium states, broke away from the Habsburg
-- Austria pulled out force with Russia, and sent army to hold on to Belgium;
-- why? Because if Belgium succeeded, every other subjugated state will do the same;
-- Belgium was defeated, and was brought back in the Habsburg hands.
-- France was unable to prevent this Austrian victory.
-- proved again French paralysis;
French Revolution
-- 1789 July 14, French Revolution;
-- Bastille collapsed within a day;
-- National Assembly was called in, brought in two crucial declarations:
1) declare the right of man and citizen equal in god’s eye (the king is the same with the civilian).
2) abolished feudalism; fear of peasantry;

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Escalation into an international Affair
-- The declaration of equal rights was a slap in other monarch’s faces; a unprecedented paradigm;
-- But no state was interested in the French Revolution yet;
-- Royal Couple: Louis XVI & Marian (sister of Leopard) royal connection;
-- Revolutionaries fear that the royal couple would come back and restore the power;
-- Marian asked Leopard for help, but there was no reply;
-- The couple fled France, but were captured, brought back, and were never trusted;
-- Leopard now was obligated to interfere to show that he cared about his sister;
-- Austria came into an alliance with Prussia, and 1971 announcing that if the revolutionaries harm the
royal couple, then the alliance would come and settle the problem by destroying the revolutionaries;
-- Leopard did not want war; thus the declaration contains the condition: actions would be taken only if
every other monarch in the European state signs on too.
-- British was actually happy with the way France was going (constitutional monarchy), and would
never sign on to that declaration; thus the alliance became useless;
Development towards War;
-- Austria miscalculated the situation. After the capture of the royal couple, massacre in Paris;
-- Austria issued ultimatum 1792 Jan & March
-- The radicals played on the fear of Austria; they blamed every misfortune was a direct consequence of
French-Austrian relation;
-- French public couldn’t read that small condition, all they knew was that other states would invade
France, and the revolutionaries could defeat any invading armies.
-- By April the revolutionaries were able to convince the National Assembly of the European-Wide
-- The revolutionaries declared war on Austria in 1792.
Wars of French Revolution:
-- Both sides misunderstood/underestimated each others commitment;
-- French officers fled; no leadership for French troops; no professional soldiers and training, yet they
were able to pull together an army;
-- Prussia attacked the revolutionaries in September;
-- Prussian professional armies were defeated by the French revolutionaries;
-- Huge blow to Prussia’s reputation; huge, stunning military victory for the French;
Development of French Revolution
-- From this day on, a new age/era is beginning in European history”;
-- No one believed that French revolutionaries could actually defeat the Prussia;
-- November 6th 1972, the revolutionaries defeated the Austrian in Austrian Netherlands, ensuring a free
passage from France to Austrian Netherlands; Went on and besiege Savoy;
-- France was fired up by the initial victories; decided to carry the revolution on to its neighbor;
-- In France, Constitutional monarchy was thrown; a Republic was declared;
-- Goal: National frontier (same as Louis XIV), under the pretext of:
-- Offer support to every subjugated state (regardless of whether they wanted to be free)
In practice, it was taking over the states;
-- “liberation” = “invasion”; “Revolutionary Republic” = “Absolute Monarch”
-- Further objective: freeing Belgium, and the Dutch Republic after; taking over territories that had
never been part of France;
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