French Revolution/Napoleon Unit Exam con.
Explain in detail Napoleon’s foreign policies and agenda. Did his plan for uniting Europe succeed? What, if any, mistakes did he make? What finally happened to Napoleon and what was his legacy for Europe as a whole?

In a nutshell, Napoleon wanted to conquer the world. He would first start in Europe, then work his way through the continents. His intentions were to spread the Enlightenment ideas that were put into effect in France during the Revolution, such as public education and the right to own and strive for property, and at first, he was doing quite well. Napoleon subjugated most of continental Europe, and was the most powerful man in the continent in the early 1800’s.

Of course, Napoleon made a few drastic mistakes, and these mistakes led to the eventual doom of the French Empire. It can be all summed up by his decision to invade Russia, first initiated because of the tsar’s noncompliance with France’s request to restrict trade with Britain and because of Napoleon’s lust for power and glory. He invaded with over 600,000 troops, yet he left with only a pitiful fraction of his soldiers. The main reasons for this include the cold Russian winter, lack of efficient supply lines, exhaustion from long marches through the vast nation, and the constant harassment by Russian soldiers.

Napoleon lost a very experienced and effective army in Russia. The army he raised afterwards was not nearly as efficient, and as a result, Napoleon’s enemies organized a coalition to overthrow him. In the spring of 1814, they were successful, and Napoleon was exiled to Elba. However, being the ambitious man that he was, he returned to France, and desperately tried to regain his power. He was defeated again at Waterloo in June 1815, and was banished to Saint Helena. He would live here for the last six years of his life.

The legacy of Napoleon would live on. He brought the nation of France to greatness from turmoil. He also conquered virtually all of continental Europe, save for Russia and the Ottoman Empire. He brought Enlightenment ideas to much of Europe – ideas that had first caused the Revolution in France in the first place. This would lead to new stirrings in other European nations, and the eventual collapse of the European monarchies.


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