By treaty of Basle Prussia abandoned the first coalition and ceded France the Rhineland. Spain left too, giving Haiti to France. Netherlands too. Because of the partition of Poland, Russia kept out, and of course Prussia and Austria never got along. By close of 1795, only Britain and Austria officially at war with France. Directory picked the young Napoleon to attack Hapsburgs in north Italy.
Born 1769 Napoleone Buonaparte in Corsica--just taken by France from Genoa. At 9 attended military school in France. His family breaks with Paoli and Napoleon helped end the Old Regime in Corsica. 1793 recaptured Toulon from the British. Had desk job in Paris before Vendémaire. Married Josephine de Beauharnais, a widow with connections to the Directory. Thus Italian campaign of 1796.
Treaty of Campoformio ended Italian campaign--Austria acknowledged N's puppet states, the Ligurian Republic (Genoa) and the Cisalpine Republic (Lombardy). That left only England, and N decided to attack her indirectly through Egypt. Egyptology, The Rosetta Stone. Abukir Bay and Nelson Aug. 1, 1798. N abandons army and returns to France.
Jacobin threat in the councils--The Law of Hostages--and third coalition of Britain, Austria, and Russia (Czar Paul I and the Knights of Malta!) drive France out of new Italian conquests. Coup of Brumaire (Nov. 9-10, 1799). N with aid of 2 directors Roger-Ducos and Siéyès, made military commander of Paris. Near failure, but saved by his brother Lucien in the Council of 500. France now ruled by triumvirate of Ducos, Siéyès, and N.
Another constitution! that of Year VIII (1799). Siéyès: "Confidence from below, authority from above." 3 consuls with N the first consul. 4 legislative houses, The Council of State, as N's cabinet, the most important. Voting so complex that easily controlled--and N got so fed up with arguing in The Tribunate that he dismissed it in 1807.
1802 N sole consul for life. 1804 named emperor and crowned by the Pope in Notre Dame in Paris. Plebiscites at each step with huge majorities--but the French people genuinely supported him. Elections over, for N appointed all mayors and department heads. But he really promoted by merit. Legion of Honor and dukes by the dozen.
Code Napoleon (1804-1810). All men equal before the law--freedom of religion. But also followed patriarchal principles of Roman law: state over the individual, judges appointed instead of elected. Divorce by mutual consent allowed, but generally head of the family in charge and many feminist advances of the revolution dropped. Reintroduced slavery in French colonies. Put down Vendée viciously in 1800 when the rebels refused his amnesty. Duke of Enghien kidnapped from Baden in 1800 and executed. Massive and very effective state censorship.
Concordat negotiated with Pious VII in 1804 (and in power until 1905). Compromise. State still pays priests' salaries, but bishops (appointed by N but consecrated by Pope) in turn appoint all priests. Confiscation of Church lands recognized, tithe abolished. Catholicism not the official religion of France, for Protestants and Jews also recognized. Church lost control of schools. N ignored primary education but opened military like lycées to educate loyal officials. Anticlericals hated Concordat, but N forced it through. Pope Pius later resented N's absorption of the Papal States and spent the rest of N's reign in prison.
In economics N kept the Directory's metal currency and balanced the budget with loot. But he irritated the peasants with his draft, and of course the endless wars disturbed trade and forced him to raise taxes.
THE WAR. Crazy Czar Paul deserted the coalition but was murdered in 1801 and succeeded by his son Alexander I. In 1800 N crossed the Alps and defeated the Austrians in Italy, recovering his satellite states. Only Britain left of the coalition, and they signed the Peace of Amiens in 1802--with little benefit to themselves. N kept Belgium, "a loaded pistol aimed at the heart of Britain."
France had regained Louisiana from Spain in 1800 and intended to use it and Haiti as the center of a vast French colonial empire. Toussaint l'Ouverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines. the Louisiana Purchase.
By 1802 Britain again at war with France. N's plans for invasion. Villeneuve, Nelson, and Trafalgar (1805). Austria, Russia (and later Prussia) joined in the 3rd coalition as N attempted to reorganize south Germany as a French counterweight to Austria and Prussia. N's greatest victories--Ulm the Austrians, Austerlitz the Austrians again and the Russians, finally forcing Francis II to sign the Treaty of Pressburg. Duke of Brunswick still the Prussian commander, defeated at Jena in Oct. 1806. Russians defeated at Friedland (1807). French troops, officers superior, but pay and supplies a constant problem.
1807 height of his career when he met Czar Alexander I at Tilsit on a barge in the Niemen river and divided Europe between them. No territorial demands, but Russia had to stop trade with England. Very unpopular in Russia! Frederick William III in Prussia lost 1/2 his territory--his Polish lands became the "Grand Duchy of Warsaw" (very unpopular in Russia). Also lost land west of the Elbe--French troops stationed in Prusia, whose army now limited to 42,000 men. Only Britain, Turkey, and Sweden remained outside of N's control. N's relatives ruled his satellites--e.g. brother Jerome King of Westphalia, part of the South German kingdom he meant as a challenge to Prussia and Austria. 1806 dissolved Holy Roman Empire so that Francis II became the emperor of Austria.
Josephine childless, so he divorced her and married Marie Louise, daughter of Francis II, and produced "The King of Rome." Dynasty! Troubles with Louis in Holland.
Continental System. Berlin Decree of 1806 forbade all trade with England. England retaliated by demanding all neutral ships trading with France to enter a British port first to be taxed. Milan Decree ordered confiscation of all ships who obeyed! Hurt France more than England. Smuggling rife, and N had few ships to stop it. N even had to secretly import leather and cloth from England to make his uniforms! War of 1812.
The Peninsular War. N tried to impose continental system on Britain's ally Portugal and then invaded Spain, putting his brother Joseph on the throne. Disaster! Inquisition. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington. The rising of Madrid, May 2, 1808. Joseph fled from Spain forever in 1813, after N had wasted 300,000 troops there.
German nationalism created by N. Austria imposed a French like draft and revolted, but put down again at Wagram (1809), which is when N married Marie Louise. Prussia, however, bounced back, even using non-Prussians to modernize the army. 42,000 number avoided with "reserves" until army was 150,000. Baron von und zum Stein abolished serfdom, though Junkers stayed very much in power. At new University of Berlin Fichte gave his famous Addresses to the German Nation--Ursprache and Urvolk. The Brothers Grimm.
But it was stupid invasion of Russia that gave Germany its chance. Alexander fed up with continental system and with N's moves into Poland, Western Germany, and the Balkans. N assembled Grande Armée of 700,000 men. Scorched earth policy. Indecisive battle of Borodino. Stayed in Moscow 5 weeks (Sept.-Oct. 1812), but Alexander wouldn't negotiate. Disastrous retreat--less than 1/4 survived. Serfs!
Oct. 1813 The Battle of the Nations at Leipzig. Abdication and Elba.