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Napoleon himself

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Napoleon himself

Postby Marshal Ney » September 8th, 2015, 4:31 pm

How Would you classify Napoleon?

Sorry didn't know the dictator one was already done so new question... I hope.
Last edited by Marshal Ney on September 9th, 2015, 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Military Dictator

Postby Josh&Historyland » September 8th, 2015, 8:57 pm

Hello. My answer is here. Along with an article.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2928&hilit=Dictator

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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby Josh&Historyland » September 9th, 2015, 4:26 pm

I myself have no firm opinion on Napoleon the man. Napoleon the statesman I tend to disagree with. Napoleon the soldier I often have mixed puzzlement & admiration for. Otherwise I merely observe how people of the time viewed him. Which was generally positively in non royalist France & the various Rhineland states he created. However though at first many fans of enlightenment across Europe applauded & admired him this changed when he took the title of Emperor, then most became disillusioned & people admirers from Beethoven to Bolívar condemned him as a traitor to the ideals of Liberty etc. The wars thereafter became not about the rights of man, but the rights of nations & kings.

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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby Mark » September 10th, 2015, 11:01 am

Napoleon is one of history's most interesting characters; some love him while others detest him. Personally, I am somewhere in between, although there is so much myth still surrounding him it is hard to get to the truth at times.

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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby jf42 » September 10th, 2015, 12:28 pm

He wore his hat sideways long after it went out of fashion. What does that tell you?
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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby DaveH » September 13th, 2015, 1:17 pm

He is one of the last to be viewed in terms of the "great man" view of history and so, there has not really been enough consideration of the extent to which he was pushed along by wider events, notably the economics of maintaining a huge military, which in my view, explains much about his two fatal decisions to invade Spain and Russia.
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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby Josh&Historyland » September 13th, 2015, 4:50 pm

I'm not sure how much economics had to do with the attempted annexation of Spain or the invasion of Russia as it did the upkeep of the Continental system, & political impasse with the Tsar.

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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby Senarmont198 » September 14th, 2015, 2:32 pm

'The idea persists that the stellite kingdoms were 'robbed' for the benefit of France. One envisions wagons rolling toward Paris with coin for the imperial treasury and revered works of art for the Louvre. To dismiss the latter quickly, many of the paintings and objects were legitimately purchased, and still belong to the French government. As to treasure wagons, many rolled from France into Spain; few indeed came from the kingdoms to France. The states contributed largely by supporting French troops within their borders; much of the money they supplied was spent locally, either by army buyers or the troops themselves, to the benefit of native merchants and producers. Because of the cost of the Spanish war, the French taxpayer's burden was increased by the holding of the satellite kingdoms. Moreover, the tax rate in France was always higher than in the kingdoms, which added to the general fear of annexation. Trade agreements favored France, and the Continental System caused distress, but native merchants managed to make immense profits anyway, especially in Italy and Naples. Further, despite economic dislocations, there were some permanent gains-new industry, new crops, and much technological improvement. Everywhere, the value of broad tariff-free trading areas was demonstrated, positively on a small scale (Italy, Westphalia, Naples), and negatively on a larger one.'-Owen Connelly, Napoleon's Satellite Kingdoms, 341-342.

Napoleon's economic 'system' is covered very well in Louis Bergeron's France Under Napoleon. I haven't seen any economic advantage for invading Spain anywhere, and the motivation for the invasion was not economics. For Russia, I haven't seen any evidence for the invasion, though the Continental System is usually named as a major reason. And that system was emplaced to defeat Britain. The catalyst for the invasion of Russia was twofold: Alexander's failure to follow the Treaty of Tilsit and Alexander's threatening of the Duchy of Warsaw, which was part of the Confederation of the Rhine.
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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby Josh&Historyland » September 14th, 2015, 7:48 pm

Senarmont198 wrote:'The idea persists that the stellite kingdoms were 'robbed' for the benefit of France. One envisions wagons rolling toward Paris with coin for the imperial treasury and revered works of art for the Louvre. To dismiss the latter quickly, many of the paintings and objects were legitimately purchased, and still belong to the French government. As to treasure wagons, many rolled from France into Spain; few indeed came from the kingdoms to France. The states contributed largely by supporting French troops within their borders; much of the money they supplied was spent locally, either by army buyers or the troops themselves, to the benefit of native merchants and producers. Because of the cost of the Spanish war, the French taxpayer's burden was increased by the holding of the satellite kingdoms. Moreover, the tax rate in France was always higher than in the kingdoms, which added to the general fear of annexation. Trade agreements favored France, and the Continental System caused distress, but native merchants managed to make immense profits anyway, especially in Italy and Naples. Further, despite economic dislocations, there were some permanent gains-new industry, new crops, and much technological improvement. Everywhere, the value of broad tariff-free trading areas was demonstrated, positively on a small scale (Italy, Westphalia, Naples), and negatively on a larger one.'-Owen Connelly, Napoleon's Satellite Kingdoms, 341-342.

Napoleon's economic 'system' is covered very well in Louis Bergeron's France Under Napoleon. I haven't seen any economic advantage for invading Spain anywhere, and the motivation for the invasion was not economics. For Russia, I haven't seen any evidence for the invasion, though the Continental System is usually named as a major reason. And that system was emplaced to defeat Britain. The catalyst for the invasion of Russia was twofold: Alexander's failure to follow the Treaty of Tilsit and Alexander's threatening of the Duchy of Warsaw, which was part of the Confederation of the Rhine.


Indeed so, those who think the satellite states of the Rhine were created for the economic benefit of France have misunderstood the case. Much of what Napoleon did after gaining a military advantage over Russia Austria and Prussia was to try and defeat Britain. Of course in the long run mutual benefits of an economic nature were envisioned within the continental system which quite apart from its intent to offset the British blockade was exactly it's purpose. The notion of the satellite states was more to do with the reduction of Prussian power, and to create buffer zones between France and the other powers than to loot them. Art treasures and indentity were taken rather from the Vatican, Austria, Spain and Prussia after the capitols were occupied, royal and church property was especially susceptible in the case of Spain, some were purchased, others were not and were taken back in 1815 along no doubt with some that had receipts. What we might term looting was more often undertaken with tacit acknowledgment by Napoleon's Marshals. Damages to Italy were offset by the creation of the Kingdom of Italy and so on.
The Russian question was to some extent a mutual exhaustion of patience. Russia though bowed was not quite in thrall to Napoleon, nor was it able to properly confront France in Europe after their previous defeats. However one of the triggers was undoubtedly the formation of the Duchy of Warsaw and the Russian response to it.

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Re: Napoleon himself

Postby jf42 » September 14th, 2015, 9:40 pm

Where would the United Provinces of the Netherlands- sorry, Batavian Republic- sorry, Kingdom of Holland- fit into the above discussion?
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