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Bonaparte and the Demise of the balance of power. the french revolutionairy elite would turn to military strongman to consolidate the revolutionary gains and to fend off their counter revolutionary enemies. But the conspiracy they had in mind was a tempo

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University of Toronto St. George
Denis Smyth

November 24th 2010 HIS103Y Bonaparte and the Demise of the balance of power. The internal political situation in France, after effects of the revolution, alm ost inevitable that the french revolutionairy elite would turn to military stron gman to consolidate the revolutionary gains and to fend off their counter revolu tionary enemies. But the conspiracy they had in mind was a temporary military di ctatorship, breathing space within which to put things in order and then see off their external enemies. What was accidental, was that the choice for the notionally 'temporary' military strong man fell about Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the fourth choice of the polit ical conspirators, Joubert had been killed, Jourdain was simply too republican/j acobin/radical, Moreau could have had it all...but he doubted his own suitabilit y for the role and recommeded Bonaparte. 18th Brumaire (November) 1799 - Coup D'etat. Conspirators backed Napoleon to di solve the convention, Napoleon appointed First Council. Showed great political t alent, and obtained dictorial power...His reputation depended on his ability as a soldier, only on the battlefield could he concentrate and consolidate the poli tical power that had been handed to him. He rapidly moved to engage the French R epublic's enemies. Britain hard to get too through the English Channel /Manche. Russians withdrew from the war because of lack of assistance from Austria. Moreau thrust into southern Germany to get into Vienna. Napoleon doubted the suc cess of a full frontal invasion. Napoleon went to northern Italy, battle against the Austrians. April 1800, crossed the alps from switzerland, confronted the Austrians in Maren go, 14th June 1800.Napoleon was so anxious that he had rushed into battle. Outn umbered, starting to lose. However a nearby french troupe, led by Dessais, aided them, stabilizing the fren ch line, giving Napoleon the victor. Enough to encourage Moreau to swoop across the Rhine in Hohenlinden, near Bavaria, 3rd December 1800, routed the Austrians. Had no choice but to surrender, peace of Luneville, 9th feb 1801. Forcing Austr ian's to accept the legitimacy of the french territories on the left bank of the Rhine. Austrian Netherlands, gone. Once more annexed and absorbed by France. In Italy, Venice still Austrian, but lost posessions in Tuscany. February 1801, Anti French Will Pitt the younger resigned. Negociations were sta rted, Peace of Amiens 25th March 1802. French Revolution triumphed at home and a broad. Balance of Power was in jeopardy from this now irresistably dominant bloc of french power, with now satelite regimes...belgium, switzerland...etc. Seemed like there was no potential source of resistance. Remarkably however, despite english financial exhaustion and popular disenchantm ent to continue this unfair war against the French, They were at war once more. Pitt put back in power, ruling class gathered around the project of confronted t he french empire threat. Why so soon after the peace of amiens? In part, fundamental divergence of purpos e. For Britain, a balanced and divided europe was the precondition of its contin ued global maritime commercial domincance. If Britain was safe in it's backyard , it was at liberty to spread across the world with it's fleet for trade and col onialism. It dawned on Napoleon that the peace of amiens was better suited to br itain than france because it allowed them carte blanche over the world = power + profit. Even in Europe, the french felt contained by the 'threat' of the power of the british navy. Therefore, it was no surprise that the french controlled pr ess began to publish articles suggesting another invasion of Egypt...clear provo cation to Britain. But mostly a clue that the emperor was not pleased. Napoleon breached the terms by invading some land in Italy. His subversion of the indepen dance of the italian states provocated England and Russia. 18th may 1803, Britain formally declares war on France. Problem of the french no bility... Napoleon puts together the Grande Armee. Britain maintained a constant naval pat rol (30 men) in the Channel, that scattered any french effort. This wooden wall along the channel, frustrated Napoleon's great invasion plan, but also gave hope and inspiration to the other european powers that they might once more, take up the napoleonic challenge and fight back. Russia: Alexander the first. Had to deal with the napoleonic threat and it's cle
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